Oliver Townend scores a one-two in Gatcombe British novice on pair of promising seven-year-olds

  • Oliver Townend scored a one-two in the Gatcombe Horse Trials British novice championship at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing this afternoon.

    The British Olympic gold medallist won the class on Sir John Peace’s Finley Du Loir, who held his two-phase lead despite 3.6 time-faults across country, and finished second on Chris Gould’s Samiro Cruze MC, who made the time.

    Speaking about the seven-year-old winner Finley Du Loir, Oliver said: “I said he was green [after the showjumping], so that was a big bonus. He’s a high-class horse – we’ve only had him this year but he’s been high-class all the way through. He’s very green, at times a little bit naughty, but if all he did was dressage he could be a very good dressage horse, if all he did was showjump he could become a jumper. He is very, very good.

    “He’s new to the sport but he was quick enough today to win the novice championships and his form all the way through is very good. He’s just learning the ropes on the cross-country so with him being careful sometimes he goes a little bit high, but at the same time it’s all looking very positive.”

    Tom McEwen’s 3.2 time-faults on Falaise De Riverland, owned by Magdalena Gut, Vicky Bates and David Myers, meant he moved up one spot from fourth after showjumping to finish third.

    “She was super. I wouldn’t say it was an unlucky rail in the showjumping, but it’s a shame to have the rail because she jumped a lovely round,” said Tom. “This was a bit of a test to see for the future to see if she’d dig in, if she’d enjoy it and she absolutely loved it. She got a little bit tired, but at no point did she should lose her jump. She’ll have learnt an awful lot.”

    As usual at Gatcombe, the time proved tight in this class. Only five pairs made the 5min 16sec target over Mark Phillips’ Gatcombe Horse Trials British novice championship course.

    Hungarian rider Noémi Doerfer was second going into the final phase with her own Serengethi, but the Festival of British Eventing debutante had 9.6 time-faults to drop out of the top placings.

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