Kitty King and Piggy March dominate at first British four-star of 2021 *H&H Plus*

  • Piggy March cements her partnership with Dargun, while Kitty King takes the other CCI4*-S at the first British international of the season

    PIGGY MARCH and Kitty King dominated at the first British CCI4*-S of the season, when between them they took first and second in both four-star sections.

    From her eight rides, only one of Piggy’s rides finished outside the top 10, but it was Dargun, a 13-year-old owned by Jane Del Missier, who provided the highlight. The chestnut, who was campaigned up to five-star level by Emily King before Piggy took over last season, completed on his 26.9 dressage in CCI4*-S section C.

    “He was really cool in all three phases,” said Piggy. “Last year was a building year for our partnership and I haven’t been that competitive with him up until this point. But this year it’s very much a case of it’s either going to work or it isn’t at the top level.

    “He has had his health issues in the past, including being prone to tying up, which obviously would have made life a bit difficult for him, so coming here this weekend was an interesting exercise to see if he was still up for it. But he felt great, was really genuine and did the tricky fences really well.”

    Piggy March riding DARGUN in CCI-S 4* Section C, during the cross country phase of the BURNHAM MARKET INTERNATIONAL (1) held at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in Norfolk in the UK on the 17th April 2021

    Piggy March riding Dargun

    Piggy also finished second in CCI4*-S section B with her 2019 Badminton winner, Vanir Kamira, who scooted around like a mare on a mission to complete on her 28.7 dressage.

    “She was really keen and flying around one-day competitions isn’t what we usually do, as she’s very much prepared as a Badminton and Burghley horse. But with no idea of what we’re aiming for at the moment and with her being 16, it’s difficult to know what the right thing to do is – do we turn them out, keep them ticking over, or what?” explained Piggy of the mare owned by Trevor Dickens. “But hopefully Burghley will happen so the next part of her year will be working back from that to prepare her.”

    King’s greys on form

    KITTY KING was on form with her smart pair of greys, with Cristal Fontaine (pictured top) and Vendredi Biats taking first and second in CCI4*-S sections B and C respectively.

    “I’m thrilled with Cristal Fontaine – he felt like an established horse in the dressage, even though he isn’t massively established yet,” explained Kitty, after the pair completed on their 28.1 first-phase score. “He’s so trustworthy in the showjumping, which makes riding him very easy, but he was a bit green in a couple of places across country. But I’m proud that he kept answering the questions – I think he will have grown up a lot after today.”

    The nine-year-old, owned by Camilla and Alex Wakeley, will now be aimed at a CCI4*-L.

    Kitty was “disappointed” with Vendredi Biat’s 27.5 dressage score, which left them in sixth after the first phase.

    “His connection and consistency has improved over the past year and his jumping phases were great – he was stronger across country and can be spooky when he’s fresh, but he gave me a really good ride,” explained Kitty of her 2019 Europeans ride, owned by Diana Brown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker.

    “He had a great 2019 and 2020 up until the end of last season when I rode like a moron at a few events before I was going to take him to Pau five-star, which made me doubt myself. So it was good to come here and prove that those were just bad days.”

    Izzy Taylor finished third in section C on Monkeying Around. A fence down in the showjumping cost them the win.

    Gemma Tattersall was third in section B with Christopher Stone’s Chilli Knight, an 11-year-old by Chilli Morning and out of Gemma’s former five-star campaigner, Kings Gem.

    Izzy Taylor riding MONKEYING AROUND in CCI-S 4* Section C, during the cross country phase of the BURNHAM MARKET INTERNATIONAL (1) held at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in Norfolk in the UK on the 17th April 2021

    Izzy Taylor riding Monkeying Around


    OLIVER TOWNEND won the sole CCI3*-S section convincingly with Paul Ridgeon’s super-consistent seven-year-old Cooley Rosalent. The mare, by Valent, who was second at the six-year-old World Championships, completed on her 26.3 dressage.

    “This result is really positive for the future and hopefully she will be back here to win the four-star,” Oliver said.

    Oliver Townend riding COOLEY ROSALENT in CCI-S 3* Section A1, during the cross country phase of the BURNHAM MARKET INTERNATIONAL (1) held at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in Norfolk in the UK on the 17th April 2021

    Oliver Townend riding Cooley Rosalent

    Eighteen-year-old Daisy Proctor completed 2.5 penalties adrift of Oliver to finish second aboard the 13-year-old Quarry Man, who was formerly campaigned to advanced level by Lizzie Baugh.

    The advanced section was won by Tim Price and the supremely exciting Falco IV, who hasn’t had a showjump down in his past 26 runs. The 12-year-old is owned by Sue Benson, and the pair were the only combination in the section to finish on their dressage score.

    Piggy March finished second with Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry’s Brookfield Quality, while she also took the open intermediate with Geoffrey Burton’s home-bred eight-year-old, I Diablo Joe.

    The intermediate optimum time proved challenging to achieve, so those who went for it tended to reap the rewards.

    Aoife Clark won intermediate section M with her own eight-year-old Dondarrion, thanks to finishing second fastest in her section, while Caroline March, also second fastest in intermediate section N, won aboard her own Shades Of Cooley.

    Talking points


    WHILE the sun that bathed Burnham Market throughout the weekend was a blessing, it also proved to be something of a curse, with a number of riders withdrawing their horses before the cross-country, due to “firm” ground, despite the event team working on it.

    Most notable of the withdrawals was Laura Collett who, after the first two phases, was leading both four-star sections with Mr Bass and London 52. She was also sitting in second with Dacapo in section B.

    She said afterwards: “I stuck to my original plan and withdrew before cross-country because the ground was too hard – a tough decision when in that position, but one I believe was 100% right by my horses.”

    Commenting on the weekend’s sport, organiser Alec Lochore said: “It was extraordinary to see so many quality horses, and great to have their owners and some spectators back, too. We did as much as we could with the ground, aerovating the cross-country four times. People weren’t critical about what we did with the ground, and ultimately we want people to come back to the event.”

    Influential fence claims notable scalps

    THE most influential fence on Alec Lochore’s four-star track was 10ab and 11, the first water, which consisted of a box in, followed by a rail in the water and then a brush corner on a curving left line out of the water.

    Horses that weren’t on their line found themselves in no position to jump the final fence, with many being pushed off the line by spooking at some decorative barrels.

    Pippa Funnell’s 2019 Burghley winner MGH Grafton Street and Piggy March’s 2020 Pau CCI5* runner-up Brookfield Inocent were among those to run out here.

    Party Trick’s Norfolk foal

    Nick Gauntlett riding PARTY TRICK in CCI-S 4* Section C, during the cross country phase of the BURNHAM MARKET INTERNATIONAL (1) held at Sussex Farm near Burnham Market in Norfolk in the UK on the 17th April 2021

    Nick Gauntlett riding Party Trick

    SHORTLY after Nick Gauntlett arrived home from Burnham Market, a foal by Party Trick (pictured, above), who jumped a double clear in the CCI4*-S, was born. Nick revealed that the foal will be named Norfolk And Party (don’t pronounce it too quickly, though…).

    This report is also available to read in this Thursday’s H&H magazine (22 April, 2021)

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