Britain's Emily Baldwin
won the three-star World Cup series class on Drivetime at the Chatsworth International Horse Trials in Britain over the weekend.
Chatsworth World Cup class winners Emily Baldwin and Drivetime. © Mike Bain
France's Astier Nicolas impressed when finishing fourth on Jhakti Du Janlie. © Mike Bain
The combination enjoyed a comfortable win ahead of Ruth Edge
and Applejack II, with Sarah Cohen
and Treason third, making it a trifecta for British riders.
Baldwin and the Dutch-bred Drivetime have a reputation as CIC3* specialists and won the FEI World Cup event at Haras du Pin (France) last year, a competition that Baldwin has signalled she will be returning to in August in her quest for further points.
Victory at Chatsworth, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, was compensation for an unfortunate Badminton, when the pair stopped at the lake. As a result, Baldwin was seen riding strongly into Chatsworth's imposing water fences.
"I'm relieved," she smiled afterwards. "Drivetime has redeemed himself. He jumped into the second water, which was bigger than Badminton, absolutely fine, and his dressage and jumping were really good, so I'm pleased with him."
Baldwin led the 22 starters in the dressage phase from Edge on Applejack ll, but their roles were reversed when Edge had the faster cross-country time. But there was only a penalty between them, and when Edge hit two fences in the final jumping phase, the pair swapped again.
"It was so great to put the ghosts of my recent Badminton experience to rest," Baldwin said. "When (Drivetime) is on-form he is fantastic, his dressage test on Friday was really impressive, plus he was so keen through the water across country which was great as I felt we had a point to prove!
The cross-country course designed by five-time Olympian Ian Stark was big, bold and testing, and no one came anywhere near the optimum time of 7 minutes 10 seconds around the hilly track in the spectacular surroundings of the Duke of Devonshire's historic park.
Baldwin said the course was "really tough". "It was more like a four star in that it made riders think and caused a lot of problems. Drivetime was foot perfect in the showjumping round - he marched into the arena at great speed and totally enjoyed himself! He will be totally unbearable for the next few weeks as he knows when he has done well."
The most influential fence was a pair of right-handed corners on a downhill, curving line, three strides apart. Lucy Wiegersma (GB), third after Dressage on Simon Porloe, faulted here, as did Paul Tapner (Aus), lying fifth on Kilfinnie, and Oliver Townend (GB) on Imperial Master.
Oliver Townend (GB) and Neo Du Breuil won the non-World Cup CIC3*.
One of the best performances through here came from Astier Nicolas
(France), 22, who finished fourth on Jhakti du Janlie. A former Young Rider European silver medallist, Nicolas was previously trained by Andrew Nicholson and is now completing a degree in equine management at Hartpury College.
With just four faults in the up-to-height final jumping phase, Nicolas finished behind Britain's Cohen on the home-bred Treason.
Seventeen riders completed the competition, with 14 clear cross-country rounds. Townend had even worse luck with his second ride, ODT Master Rose, and suffered a fall at fence 22, a corner-skinny-spread combination, and Andrew Nicholson (NZ) parted company with Armada at the sunken road (7/8). British-based US rider Julian Stiller was eliminated for refusals with both her horses.
However, riders unanimously praised the track, and especially the amount of work done by the course-building team with watering and verti-draining to produce perfect going, despite the lack of rain. Townend said: "I'm a big fan of Ian's courses. They encourage bold riding and make you think."
Cohen also was second on Irish Jester (59.6) in the non-World Cup CIC3* section behind the winner Oliver Townend with Neo Du Breuil (54.4). Lucinda Fredericks took third place with The Navigator (60.6).
The huge amount of classes on offer in addition to the three star classes hosted all the top names including crowd-pleaser Pippa Funnel who took the honours in both International Novice (CIC1*) sections with two young horses from the popular sport-horse breeders Billy Stud - Billy Beware and Billy Black Jack respectively.
The new addition to Friday's line-up at Chatsworth was the popular Burghley Dubarry Young Event Horse five year old qualifier, a competition which show-cases the stars of future eventing - it proved a popular choice for competitors with more than 40 entries and was won by Leicestershire rider Chloe Newton with Fernhill Nearly Darc.
The huge crowd was also captivated by the magical performances each day by the world renowned horse whisperer Jean Francois Pignon with his famous grey horses from Calvisson. Regular Chatsworth favourites were as popular as ever and included Pony Club mounted games, ferret racing, sheepdog and birds of prey displays.
Images below © Mike Bain.