A bold strategy of going quick cross country and hoping it would be enough to stay ahead of the rest of the field paid off for Oliver Townend on Andrew Cawthray’s Note Worthy. Note Worthy was originally ridden by Oliver before being sold to Tim Boland who rode him last year. When Tim went back to Australia, Note Worthy was bought back. Oliver explained that Note Worthy was a ‘very good horse with an endless gallop’. Oliver really rates him for the future.
Oliver deliberately put his foot down in the Intermediate as he had ‘good ones near to me and I know this horse is a good galloper an careful.’ Note Worthy is by the stallion Limmerick and out of a race winning TB mare. In talking about riding so many different horses on the same day Oliver said at ‘this stage you just do it. I have a plan in my head and one I have jumped round the course once I know exactly how I am going to ride each horse. The plan comes together naturally rather than me thinking about it.’
The runner up was Italian team rider Vittoria Panizzon riding Chequers Play the Game, a 12yo gelding by Stravinsky and owned by Amy and Patricia Lambert. Chequers Play the Game is a fairly new ride for Vittoria who took over the ride from Jock Paget at the beginning of the season. Vittoria explained that as a horse that Chequers Play the Game was a lovely, smiley horse and that she was thrilled with the result here; ‘I never expected him to stay up in second place. I knew he was capable of a good result but I had a few time faults which is normal for Gatcombe but I expected them to be quicker.’
Unfortunately Chequers Play the Games owner Patricia Lambert could not watch due to attending a dress fitting for her daughter’s wedding. Vittoria was very excited about the future with this horse because ‘there were some proper beefy jumps on the course. The plan might be to take him to France because Italy has not yet qualified for Rio and we are running out of time to qualify. It would be nice to take him 3*’
Vittoria has recently come back from a broken collarbone and so has done well to get her fitness back in time for this event.
In third was Tom McEwen on Toledo De Kerser an 8yo bay gelding by Diament De Semilly and owned by Frank and Jane Inns. Tom said that Toledo De Kerser had not been an easy horse because he hates crowded warm ups. Tom still cannot jump him at home. This result for Tom was his best result at Gatcombe. It was on this horse that Tom was previously 2nd at the Le Lion Young Horse Championships.
The fence which caused the most issues was fence 12 which was a drop doing downhill to a brush arrowhead to an offset brush. It caused 12 faults across the field.