April 19, 2008

Australia's Paul Tapner and Inonothing stormed around the Belton International Horse Trials cross-country course to win the Grantham Cup by a single penalty last weekend.

The contest was hard fought, with the CIC*** contest drawing riders from all over the world, some seeking Olympic qualification.

It was a close fought battle with the leader board changing throughout. Australian Clayton Fredericks held the advantage after the first two phases, dressage and showjumping, as he was both first and second with Ben Along Time and Nullabor respectively. But he elected to save the horses for other competitions, which opened up the field.

This handed the lead to Gloucestershire's Julie Tew and Sir Roselier going into the cross country. Cross-country course designer Sue Benson set the riders a strong test - perfect for this time of year with many horses having a final run before Badminton Horse Trials next month.

Julie and the striking grey put up a great performance to add just 17.6 time penalties which retained the lead until Australian Olympic-long listed combination Paul Tapner and Inonothing stormed round the course for just 12.4 time penalties - taking the lead by a single penalty.

Britain's Mary King came closest to stealing the lead with Imperial Cavalier but just wasn't fast enough - letting victory slip by only 0.3 of a penalty - less than a second.

Last year's winner, Vittoria Panizzon from Italy, was fourth. The other Advanced sections provided some top-notch entertainment for the assembled crowds with some of the best in the country competing.

More than 675 horse and rider combinations from 12 nations competed across three action-packed days, and also on show were 45 Pony Clubbers, two horseball teams, 190 classic cars and motorcycles, 30 dogs, and 160 golfers, giving the 10,000 spectators plenty to see.