Saturday, May 24, 2014
The second day of competition at the EQ Life Houghton International Horse Trials saw New Zealand slip into the lead in the Nation Cup competition.
Germany took a strong second with Great Britain following in third, but with only a few points between them there is all to play for as the nations go head to head in the showjumping and cross-country phases.
Rosalind Canter, Great Britain Nation Cup team member and joint leader in the CCI* class, is a new member to the team and says the course asks plenty of question.
“There are certainly four or five places that could cause some problems, and at this level you just have to be on your toes,” she said. “Even the second last fence is quite a big question. Due to the nature of the competition the fences come up quicker and the speed is faster – you have to be concentrating the whole way round.”
Unusually, there are joint winners at the top of the CCI* leaderboard after cross-country. Tim Cheffings and Donateur hold the lead with Rosalind, who came through the finish in exactly the same time, making competition unbearably tight on the final day.
After performing a fantastic test on Thursday, Norfolk girl Piggy French moved into second position behind the legendary Kiwi Mark Todd on NZB Campino in the CICO***. A disappointing fall at Badminton has re-routed this horse to Houghton and he has further plans to compete at Bramham.
“This is a fun competition for us,” said Todd. “The New Zealand team has some very strong cross-country horses in it and everyone is going out there to do the best they can. This horse is very smart in the dressage phase and usually very good in the other two so we hope for a good result.”
It continued to be a great day for British riders when youngsters David Doel and Sophie How led the CCIYR**. On the outstanding 17hh bay mare Miss Caruso, David scored an impressive 38.9 to take joint position having only gained the ride this year.
“With this horse I hope to go to Portugal for the Young Rider Europeans,” he said. “She has won before at this level, but she isn’t the best of gallopers because she is foreign bred with a big jump, so making the time might be hard, but she is as fit as she could be so we will just have to see.”
Belgian rider Lara De Liedekerke still leads in the CCI**, but Pippa Funnell and Billy The Biz are close behind in second.
Away from the eventing the Norfolk showjumping classes got underway yesterday, with local riders taking to the coloured fences to battle it out for Houghton glory. East Anglian showjumping regulars, Ruby Pointer, Chloe Winchester, Katy and Charlotte Peasley all took home a win, with Kelly Hancy, Caroline Fitzalan-Howard and Stacy Nicholls also picking up the prizes.
Today concludes the Nations Cup competition, where the best in the business will gallop cross-country and jump in the main arena; it’s a day not to be missed.