H&H Festival of Eventing: ‘perfect Poppy’ jumps her way to 100cm victory

  • The overnight leader after the cross-country kept her cool in a tense showjumping final to be crowned the champion of the 100cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing.

    Winner Anna Saunders and her 13-year-old mare Curious Lady (Poppy) had a 4.5-penalty lead going into the round and a knocked pole at the second part of the double at fence eight made for a nail-biting finish.

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    Julia Dungworth, winner of the 100cm class at the 2018 event, came second with Irish Spring and kept the pressure on Anna until the very last second with a confident clear round. Third-placed Jemma Richardson and Parkhill Poppy also jumped clear to finish on their dressage score of 35.5.

    Anna told H&H she approached the round “determined” to win.

    “I’m quite a competitive rider, I definitely wanted to win. I walked the course last night and knew what I had to do. The course was really nice so I felt quite calm. There was one awkward related distance and Poppy tends to struggle with striding but she was really forward,” said Anna.

    “It was a good round but I knocked part of the double, I think I got a bit too deep. The first few riders had some fences down, but the second and third-placed riders had clears so I knew I needed either a clear, or could have just the one pole down.”

    Anna moved up from fourth place after the dressage on Friday (25 May) on a score of 30.5.

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    “The dressage normally lets us down but the showjumping and the cross-country usually help us move up the places,” said Anna.

    “This is one of the biggest venues we’ve been to – it’s very impressive. It’s been a brilliant weekend and I couldn’t have done it without my mum, Karen Saunders. Poppy is just the best, we call her ‘perfect Poppy’.”

    Don’t miss the full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June.

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