Gemma Tattersall crowned British Open champion at Gatcombe

  • Gemma Tattersall is the new British Open champion – and extended her lead at the top of the Event Rider Masters series leaderboard – after winning the CIC3* at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe aboard Arctic Soul.

    It came down to cross-country speed, and the 14-year-old ex-racehorse Arctic Soul has to be one of the fastest event horses in the world. He raced round Gatcombe’s tight contours for just 1.2 time-faults and leapt from 11th after showjumping – where he knocked down two fences – to take the prestigious title and the £16,000 Event Rider Masters winner’s cheque.

    “That horse is simply mental!” said Gemma after cross-country. “He’s so fast and brave. I dared myself at every fence and he answered every question, as normal. He really deserves this win.”

    Gemma, who won the first leg of the 2017 Event Rider Masters series at Chatsworth, is now 13 points ahead of Sarah Cohen – fifth here on Treason – in the series. Sir Mark Todd, who took fourth at Gatcombe aboard Kiltubrid Rhapsody, is in third spot in the table.

    Continued below…

    Swedish rider Ludwig Svennerstal achieved his best Gatcombe result with second on Balham Mist. The pair had risen from 17th after dressage to seventh with one of just three showjumping clear rounds, and a fast cross-country round for 6.8 time-faults meant they rose to the runners-up spot.

    “He’s never been placed in a three-star before, so to be second here is super,” said Ludwig. “I felt as though I was riding as quickly as I could [across country], but he was very honest and rideable.”

    This year’s British sensation Alexander Bragg took third on Zagreb, who tired a little towards the end of Mark Phillips’ track.

    Brazilian duo Marcio Jorge and Lissy Mac Wayer, leaders going into the final cross-country phase, collected 21.6 time-faults and finished seventh.

    Both Bill Levett (Shannondale Titan) and Oliver Townend (Note Worthy), fourth and fifth after showjumping, fell across country.

    Corinthian Cup winner

    Quorn hunt stud groom Lorna Collins won the TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup, the amateur novice class.

    She led from start to finish on the six-year-old Blackrock Ricardo and, despite 6.8 cross-country time-faults, just held off Katie Hancock and Coddstown Pet.

    “He was super across country – he was just a bit strong early on and then went a little green at the water fences, so we lost a bit of time,” said Lorna, who was supported by her husband, Quorn huntsman Peter Collins, all weekend.

    Full report from the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 10 August.

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