Bettina Hoy wins Blenheim title; Willa Newton triumphs in young horse CIC

  • A euphoric Bettina Hoy scored her first CCI3* victory for “a bloody long time” having led at Blenheim Horse Trials from the very first day.

    With Gerd-Hermann Horst’s beautiful 10-year-old Westphalian Seigneur Medicott, she added just 8.3 time penalties to his brilliant dressage score to complete over 10 pens ahead of his nearest rival, Andrew Nicholson and his own and Philip Channer’s Teseo.

    Bettina, 52, only competes a small string these days, but hopes to put a syndicate together to retain the ride on this horse which shortly goes up for sale.

    The horse is not always faultless showjumping as he was today. “But I remembered what [her former teammate] Hinrich Romeike said at the Hong Kong Olympics before showjumping [which they won]. He said he didn’t feel nervous because the horse had never jumped a clear round before — there was no point being nervous.”

    Second was Andrew Nicholson on his own and Philip Channer’s diminutive chestnut Teseo, out of the same dam as Qwanza, his four-star winner. “There’s not a lot of him but he’s unbelievably fast,” says Andrew. His show jumping round for just the first down was masterfully ridden.

    In third place, scoring the biggest result of her life, was local girl Lydia Hannon, 27, from Thame, on Carol and Christopher Harris’s mare My Royal Touch. They came here primarily to secure Badminton qualification. “But I was secretly wishing for a top 10 finish. If that doesn’t get us into Badminton now I don’t know what will,” said Lydia.

    The biggest disappointment on the final day was for USA’s Hannah Sue Burnett on her experienced Harbour Pilot. “We brought him here to try to win Blenheim,” Hannah Sue had said. But two fences down dropped them to fifth. “He obviously worked really hard yesterday, and he doesn’t always jump well off grass. I’m disappointed — but he’s still the best horse in the world.”

    Young Brits to the fore in the eight/nine-year-old CIC

    Another young Brit scored the biggest win of her career in the CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-olds when Willa Newton, 26, climbed from third overnight with a fast cross-country round on Lady Sarah McCorquodale and her father Joey’s chestnut mare Caja 20.

    The pair have numerous German connections as the Hannoverian mare was found for her four years ago by Dirk Schrade and Willa trains with Chris Bartle and Bettina Hoy, among others.

    “She’s very sharp, but totally focused when you start,” said Willa. “Chris Bartle told me the time was possible and though she’s only eight she felt so confident.”

    The pair added just two time-penalties to their dressage score, and crowned a brilliant Blenheim for Willa as she also came 8th in the CCI on Chance Remark.

    Continued below…

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    Second in the CIC was Laura Collett on Lyn and Nick How, Louise and Keith Scott and her own Mr Bass, her world seven-year-old champion from Le Lion last year. “He’s  always been my fun horse, but he’s just getting better and better,” said Laura of the horse who is off to Boekelo next.

    They were among just four combinations to go inside the time cross-country, along with Andrew Nicholson and Paul Ridgeon’s Swallow Springs, who finished third. The horse came to him as a “talented but naughty horse” from Donal Barnwell. Much of his early career was spent putting Andrew on the floor, but he’s “good at jumping and dressage and he’s very fast”.

    Full report from Blenheim in H&H next week, out Thursday, 15 September.

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