New Zealand riders hold the top three positions going into the final cross-country phase at the Barbury International Horse Trials, topping a massive field of 110 starters in the featured CIC three-star division.
Andrew Nicholson and Avebury lead on 41.6 penalties, from Jonathan Paget and Clifton Lush with 42.6. Next in the rankings is Mark Todd and NZB Campino with 47.0.
Boyd Martin (US) and Remington XXV are fourth with 47.4, with Kitty King the best of the British in fifth with Zidante. Phillip Dutton (US) and Mystery Whisper are on 48.0 penalties in sixth place.
Nicholson also has Quimbo in the top 20, in 16th with49.8, with compatriot Lucy Jackson and Animator II next on 50.2. Jackson’s Kilcoltrim Ambassador is 47th with 57.2, Alice Montgomery and Gordon IV are 52nd with 58.4, and their fellow Olympic squad member Clarke Johnstone is 58th on Orient Express with 59.4.
Cross country gets under way at 12.30pm on Sunday local time, with riders starting in reverse order of placing.
The four star Olympic combined training class, featuring a host of British and international Olympic bound combinations, was won by locally based Laura Collett (GB) riding Rayef. Following a clear show jumping round by Collett the pressure was on overnight leader Chris Burton (Aust) and Holstein Leilani, who had two poles down, dropping them to fifth place. Jonathan Paget (NZ) and Clifton Promise finished second and One To Many NJ ridden by Bill Levett (Aust) was third.
“I am really pleased with Rayef’s performance today,” Collett said. “At Barbury there is a lot going on, including the cross country being right next door to the show jumping so there are many distractions but he really concentrated and focused on the job. We will now go to Aachen, Germany next week”.
Success continued for Wiltshire based riders with Kitty King and Persimmon maintaining their lead after a clear cross country to win a hotly contended two star competition in section B. Just under five marks behind, Australia’s Paul Tapner with Indian Mill, also locally based at Highworth finished in second and British team member Piggy French and DHI Topper W in third. Team mates Zara Phillips riding High Kingdom and William Fox-Pitt with Lionheart performed solidly finishing in fifth and seventh place respectively.
“I am thrilled with this result because he is only a young horse,” King said. “He is seven and in his second season and to lead from the front and beat Olympic horses is excellent”.
Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware held on to their overnight lead, putting in a clear on the cross country to win section C of the two star competition, with Piggy French and West Side completing in second and Oliver Townend and ODT Ghareeb performing a swift cross country round in third. French went one better in section D to win on board and Kiltealy Brief. A faultless performance with a double clear and no time penalties on cross country the pair clinched victory from Trefeinon Red Kite and Melanie Wilder and the USA’s Julian Stiller and Enjoy Me in third.
• Paul Tapner, Laura Collett, Lauren Shannon and Mark Todd walked away with their stick-ability prowess intact, following a win in the Hit Air Pro Bull Preventer V Jockeys Rodeo Bull Challenge. Following a competitive match the Jockeys, headed by Robert “Choc” Thornton, Richard Johnson, Andrew Tinkler and Wayne Hutchinson had to settle for second, despite a late addition to their team from Barbury’s resident trainer Alan King. The event raised funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund.
• In other results from Barbury, Chris Burton won the Novice section E with Graf Liberty; Laura Collett and Brookfield Cult King won the Novice F; Collett and Longbarn Maisie won Novice G; Sarah Gairdner and Salvation won the Open Novice H; Millie Dumas and Artistiek won the Open Novice I; Dan Jocelyn and Brookfield Baker Street won Novice J; and Tim Price and Vortex won the intermediate novice section retrained racehorse class.