Oliver Townend on top form in CCI3*-S at Somerford Park Horse Trials

  • Oliver Townend sings the praises of “high-class” Tregilder as they win on their dressage score, and a final competition outing ends in triumph for one university-bound rider at Baileys Horse Feeds Somerford Park in Cheshire, reports Jo Prestwich

    OLIVER TOWNEND and Tregilder put in a foot-perfect performance to win the Baileys Horse Feeds CCI3*-S in the Baileys Horse Feeds Somerford Park Horse Trials results, on their dressage score of 26.6, one of only two combinations to achieve the feat, the other being Piggy March in third with Cooley Goodwood.

    “He had a bit of a wobble at Houghton, so he’s had a couple of confidence-giving runs and is heading for the five-star at Bicton,” explained Oliver of the horse belonging to the Hazeldines and Mitchell Fox Group. “He’s a high-class horse I think a lot of and he gave me a fantastic ride round here.

    “What a special event – everything is done foremost for horse and rider and the rest just slots into place behind that. The facilities are amazing, but the organisation and team behind it are just as good.”

    Oliver was last to go round the brilliant David Evans track, overtaking long-time leader Sam Lissington and her home-bred Ricker Ridge Ricochet. Sam, who made the long trip from New Zealand in 2019 with four horses, is aiming the mare at Osberton to finish the season.

    “When I was moving to the UK, I hadn’t planned on bringing her. With home-breds you don’t know how special they are, but a couple of people asked why I wasn’t taking her, so I did,” said Sam. “She’s kept on improving and ticks all the right boxes. I love her.

    “It’s the first time I’ve been to Somerford, but it won’t be the last. They did a great job keeping going, the ground was as good as it could be and the tracks were great – challenging but confidence giving at the same time.”

    Oliver could hardly have started the weekend better, winning section E of the open intermediate (OI) with Paul and Diana Ridgeon’s Swallow Springs. The event was the first time he’d sat on the horse, who has been ridden to five-star level by Andrew Nicholson.

    “Andrew brought him up and has taken him back home, but we’re meeting again at Blenheim,” said Oliver. “It was a real privilege to ride one of the best horses in the world. He is beautifully produced and so adjustable.

    “Andrew told me just to let him run as he came back to you so quickly, but I forgot and sat up coming into the coffin to get an extra stride – the ABS [automatic braking system] kicked in. What a horse!”

    Somerford Park Horse Trials CCI2*-S results

    A delighted Tarka Abrahams headed up the Rookery Park Stud CCI2*-S with her own Jarisa. The combination were fourth after dressage, but took advantage of overnight leader Amy Hawley and Treamble rolling a pole in the showjumping to win.

    Somerford Park Horse Trials results: Tarka Abraham on her way to a winning performance on Karisa

    Tarka bought the now-seven-year-old as an unbroken three-year-old after she saw her advertised on the internet.

    “When I went to see her, she did a pinball demo around the arena,” said Tarka. “There was a line of electric fencing on top of the arena at about 1.60m because she kept jumping out free-schooling and I just loved what I saw and brought her home.”

    Sadly, this is likely to be the final competition outing for the partnership, as Tarka is off to Oxford to study biochemistry in the autumn and Jarisa is for sale.

    “She deserved the win today, she’s been so close to getting a good result, but then I’ve made a mistake so it’s special that it’s all come together,” she added.

    Somerford Park Horse Trials results: intermediate sections

    Piggy March (Brookfield Quality), Giovanni Ugolotti (No Rush One), Izzy Taylor (Cooley Rules) and Bill Levett (Lates Quin) all won at OI or intermediate level.

    Elisabeth Murdoch’s Lates Quin’s win in OI section F was actually the horse’s first British Eventing (BE) win, despite the fact he competes at four-star level.

    “I don’t go quick very often, but it was great ground for a good gallop – if you didn’t go quick on ground like that, then when were you ever going to?” said Bill, who heads back to the gelding’s country of birth for the CCI4*-L at Millstreet next.

    “He was bought out of the Monart Sale and he gives me the feel of a good horse. He’s superb across country and this year has all been about getting the mileage for Badminton next year.”

    Goergie Campbell riding Global Quest to a win at Somerford Park

    Georgie Campbell rode Lance and Diana Morrish’s Global Quest to win intermediate section D. It was a first British Eventing win for the Irish-bred son of Metropole who Georgie spotted in Ireland at Global Event Horses.

    “I rang Diana straight away and said I’d found one for her. The first time she saw him he was trying to buck me off, so I think she wondered what she’d bought, but he’s incredibly talented,” she said.

    Georgie was held on track while a MIMclip was replaced.

    “I was pleasantly surprised I was inside the time because I hadn’t set out to get it, but he’s a cross-country machine and really covers the ground.”

    Georgie had three horses entered but gave up her following rides.

    “I’m nursing a knee injury from a fall in April, hence the attractive brace I’m riding in, but I didn’t think I could do two youngsters justice today,” she added.

    The hold-up on track did not go unnoticed by husband Jesse, who was following Georgie round. Held at fence 14, he declared he was never going to let her go ahead of him again!

    New layout at Somerford Park

    The event had a new layout this year with the international dressage in the main arena and the national showjumping moved to the adjoining arena. A change round for the Sunday meant the main arena hosted the showjumping for the international classes.

    “We were really pleased with the way that worked,” said joint-organiser Debbie King. “Our team this year have been amazing. We had to move the cross-country warm-up for Saturday’s national classes and with torrential rain all day, they were working into the night putting new footings down and making course changes. I’m so proud of the job they have done; they’re every bit as committed as we are, they have our back!”

    Debbie added: “To run an event of this calibre at this time of the year does not fit in with our business practice and we are going to need a date review in order to carry on.”

    • This report will also be available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 26 August

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