H&H Festival of Eventing: ‘He’s a diamond in the rough’: promising young event horse jumps his way to 100cm victory

  • The leaderboard of the 100cm championship at the Horse & Hound Festival of Eventing, run in association with KBIS, had a huge shake up on the final day today (28 May).

    Eventual winners, Julia Dungworth and the eight-year-old Gortmore Ballyneety, enjoyed a meteoric rise thanks to a clear showjumping round, climbing from eighth after the cross-country to take first prize.

    “This event has done ‘Gala’ the world of good and it has been a brilliant experience for him,” said Julia of her Irish-bred gelding. “I can’t recommend this competition enough to other riders.”

    Julia has owned Gala for just under a year after one of her teaching clients brought him for a lesson.

    “He bucked his old owner off in the lesson and I said ‘I like that horse’,” admitted Julia, who finished on her dressage score of 33.25. “He’s really sharp — he’s not spooky at fences, but if someone took their jumper off by the side of the arena, he would bugger off with me! I couldn’t let the rosette be pinned on his bridle today as I would have gone through the hedge.

    “Gala is a diamond in the rough and I have high hopes for him for the future — he will get it but just needs this sort of competition to help give him some grounding.”

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    Second place went to Emma Freeman and Quick Dolla Bill, who also flew up the placings from ninth thanks to a clear showjumping round. While another to benefit from a clear round on the final day was Helen Fraser and Justanumber, who rose from 10th to third. Overnight cross-country leaders Doriel Watson and Claude II dropped out of the top 10 after an expensive showjumping round.

    Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk

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