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Kiwi wins advanced class at Gatcombe horse trials

August 8, 2010

Pictures by Al Crook

New Zealand's Dan Jocelyn made an excellent recovery to take out an advanced class at Gatcombe's The Festival of British Eventing on Special Advocate yesterday.

Dan Jocelyn accepts first prize for his advanced win on Special Advocate from the Princess Royal.

Oliver Townend and Jeepers Creepers won the British Novice Championship at Gatcombe on Saturday.

Mark Todd and Major Milestone were third in the first advanced class.

Craig Nicolai and Just Ironic.

The Berkshire-based Kiwi went clear in the jumping and had the fastest cross-country round of the class to move up 16 places to claim Advanced section A, ahead of dressage and jumping leader William Fox-Pitt riding Seacookie.

Fellow New Zealander Mark Todd, a winner of the championship at Gatcombe 25-years ago, was less than a penalty point behind on the Irish-bred Major Milestone to take out third.

Sixteen-year-old Special Advocate, by the thoroughbred Criminal Law, was bred by owner Jennifer Hibbert. He is the full elder brother of Special Attorney, whom Jocelyn rode to tenth place in Advanced Section B.

"I love riding round Gatcombe," Jocelyn said. "I love the terrain and the cross-country. it is such a thrill to ride here and I have been here every year since I arrived in the UK.

"Special Advocate knows his job, although he is not the easiest at home. I finally got the bitting right which has made a difference, so it is good to have a big win and good for Jenny, his owner and breeder," Jocelyn said.

Louise Skelton won Advanced section B with her homebred Bit of Barney. They also moved up the order with a fast clear cross-country, adding just 2.8 time penalties to their 13th place dressage score, recording the second fastest round of the day. She has been riding since February with an injured hand and is now awaiting an operation.

Skelton's horse is also one of two full brothers, both by the thoroughbred Blaze O' Gold out of her former point-to-point mare. Bit of a Barney's brother Partly Pickled also competes at advanced level.

"I have a soft spot for Barney,who is my favourite," Skelton said. "He was born with a wonky leg and was a bit of a runt so the fact that he has even got to advanced level has amazed us.

"Barney was brilliant today - we are usually bringing up the rear after dressage and I never expect to win. But we have had some help from Yogi (Breisner - Performance Manager of British Eventing) which has really improved his canter," she said.

Irish raider Aoife Clark and Vaguely North also produced a double clear to be second, while New Zealander Andrew Nicholson and the Spanish-bred Quimbo took third. Nicholson produced the fastest round of the day with Oplitas to move up 13 places into fourth. Adding to a successful day for the Kiwis, Dan Jocelyn was fifth with Savoir Faer.

Clark's Vaguely North (Distinctly North x Silver Plate) is a New Zealand bred horse who was formerly named Cuzzy Bro. He was ridden in New Zealand by Heelan Tompkins, who then sold him to Olympian and former World Champion Vaughn Jefferis. He was to be his Olympic comeback horse, but was later sold to the Duchess of Bedford and ridden by Marie-Louise (Bumble) Thomas before Clark picked up the ride.

• Oliver Townend added yet another title to his CV with the Dodson and Horrell Novice Championship on Jeepers Creepers. Townend was eighth after dressage in the 70 strong class and moved up to take the lead with a clear round over the coloured poles with Olivia Tappin's Irish-bred nine-year-old by popular sire Ricardo Z.

They then jumped a swift and clear cross-country round to take the lead which could not be matched by the rest of the class.

Townend took the ride on Jeepers Creepers this time last year. "He is not the easiest to ride and can be a bit spooky show jumping but that was by far the best round he has ever jumped," Townend said, after producing one of nine clear show jumping rounds in the class.

He last won the Novice Championship in 2005 and has won the Intermediate Championship twice previously. He has yet to win the British Open, in which he is currently lying third with is World Equestrian Games reserve horse Ashdale Cruise Master at the end of dressage.

Olympic team bronze medallist Sharon Hunt from Kent was second in the class with Dr David and Mrs Susan Howards seven year old Azeb.

Just two combinations from the 53 finishers in this class finished on their dressage score. Winner Oliver Townend was one and third place Vicky Tuffs and Nothing Ventured by Irish Sport Horse Newmarket Venture was the other. The pair came up from 31st place after dressage.

Dressage leader Lucinda Fredericks on Flying Finish withdrew after show jumping. Seventy combinations started the class and 53 completed 42 without cross-country jumping penalties.

• Mary King has set herself up for a crack at her fifth British Open Championship title. Having completed two exemplary dressage tests she is in first and second place with her British team horse Imperial Cavalier (Archie) and her homebred mare Kings Temptress (Tessa).

"So far so good," King joked. "Archie did a beautiful test, with just a couple of small mistakes. He was late behind in his second flying change and put his head up high in the halt. Tessa (Kings Temptress) my homebred mare was, for her, faultless," said King, who was looking forward with relish to the cross-country.

"I always enjoy Gatcombe," she said. "It is a big decent course which really sets you up for a major championship such as the World Equestrian Games (her goal with Archie in September)."

British team reserve Oliver Townend is currently third with the grey Ashdale Cruise Master and Antipodean riders Paul Tapner (with two horse), Sam Griffiths and Andrew Nicholson hold the following four places. Show jumping for this class starts at midday on Sunday.

• Billy Pastime headed a trio of chestnuts in the Burghley Dubarry Young Event Horse four-year-old qualifier.

The young chestnut by William Funnell's nine-year-old Hickstead hero Billy Congo - members of the winning Nations Cup team at Hickstead, stood top of the line of a strong top ten. Billy Pastime, bred at the Billy Stud in Surrey, and ridden by Helen Wilson was one of three "Billy" rides through to the final section at Gatcombe.

"The top three were all good jumpers but boy did he jump," said jumping judge Bridget Parker, who awarded him 39 out of 40 in this section. Billy Pastime, the only qualifier at his venue, will now go to The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the national final.

2012 Olympic Course Designer Sue Benson judged the final section - type and suitability. "It was a really strong class and they were ten of the nicest four-year-olds I have seen for a long time. I'd happily have taken any one of them home," said Benson, who was impressed by the paces and type of second-placed Keep Cruising.

Ridden by Alan Nolan, Keep Cruising is by the Cruising son, Bahrain Criuse. The combination gained high marks across the three sections, also impressing judge Ros Jones with his conformation and dressage judge, National Hunt trainer, Henrietta Knight.

Sue awarded the top marks in her section to Mollington, a good moving chestnut by the British-based KWPN stallion Monte Carlo and ridden by Matthew Heath. The combination took a final third place.

More pictures

Oliver Townend and Jeepers Creepers.

Andrew Nicholson and the Princess Royal at the prizegiving.

Louise Skelton and Bit of a Barney won the second advanced class.

Andrew Nicholson finished third in the second advance class on Quimbo.

Dan Jocelyn and Special Advocate.

Mark Todd and Major Milestone.



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