The dressage started yesterday for both sections with a distinctive coloured theme as Emily Dennis and Disert Joe on 27.6, and Anna Martin and Sannanvalley Classic on 28.1 led the BE100 and BE90 championships respectively overnight.
Wednesday morning brought a new day and new contenders. No one could beat Emily’s score although Sophie Walker and Rhapsody RFW were able to equal it in the BE100. Laura Avery though stormed in to the lead in the BE90 with an exceptional score of 26.1 despite having an error of course!The showjumping for the BE100 championship started early this morning and soon proved to be influential with only 32 of the 79 starters going clear. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Sophie Walker who was eliminated in this phase but Emily Dennis went clear to go into the XC in pole position.
The cross country test was exactly that and once again shook up the leader board. Emily was knocked out of contention after a stop at the always influential Shogun Hollow and all the other riders who had been in the top 10 after dressage picked up penalties either showjumping or cross country to fall out of contention for the win. Faults were spread around the course but several picked up penalties at the Careers In Racing Brushes which once again proved influential this year. Other influential fences included the Shogun Hollow, the CrossCountry App Combination and the World Horse Welfare Houses.A feeling of Deja Vu started to be felt when 12th after dressage Katie Hancock moved into the lead on Coddstown Pet about two thirds of the way through the day. There were others after that could have gone ahead but as mentioned they all picked up penalties, the most frustrating possibly being the 3.6 time penalties of Abbie Coulson who dropped from 1st to 11th. The Deja vu factor was that Katie won the 2016 final aboard Kilcandra Rambo Ray and so becomes the first rider to defend either a Mitsubishi Grassroots or now Misubishi Motors Cup title. But the Deja vu ness was not finished there, slotting into second place was Stephanie Waite on Stay In Touch who finished in the exact same position in last year’s final. Sophie Byford riding The Texas Ranger slotted into third place on 30.8 to round up the BE100 top three. e-Venting’s very own blogger Sarah Arrowsmith, had a fantastic competition. Only a week ago not even being sure if she would even be able to attend she not only completed but did so with style. She started with a very respectable dressage test for 31.1 for equal 26th after dressage, before adding a single unlucky pole to her dressage score. Brother Bertie (Dan) and Sarah then stormed round the cross country course without picking up any time penalties to finish a very respectable 15th whilst also picking up the EHOA prize. We have no doubt that her brother would have been very very proud.
This year’s win was no easier than last for Katie, she was actually amazed to have qualified with the young 7yo mare. The mare will now go on up to novice and she has some great plans thinking she is definitely one for the future. Jokingly she confirmed she won’t be back again next year as Coddstown Pet is her only horse current! She is a shire cross thoroughbred and she is in awe of her bravery and ability. Katie could not reiterate more how important the Mitsubishi Motors Cup is for amateur riders, it gives a one of a kind experience that cannot be equalled elsewhere, and truly is the aim of the everyday working rider.
Stephanie bought Danny as a 4yo after he was advertised locally. She has done everything with him from pony club to hunting. After last year she was determined to go inside the time so was sure to push on. Stephanie laughed when asked what it felt like to be beaten by Katie for the second year running, but said she couldn’t have been beaten by a nicer person. She said how much she loves the atmosphere at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup and how she has made several friends over the past few years competing.
Sophie came in just wanting a double clear from Tonto (The Texas Ranger) who’s strongest phase is the cross country. Sophie currently spends her time riding and competing both Tonto and her horse Handsome.
The BE90 showjumping started mid morning and did prove to have some influence but perhaps not as much as we would have liked, 57 of the 107 starters went clear and a further 21 combinations only toppled a single pole. The top 10 mostly stayed unchanged with just a couple of combinations slipping down the leader board, most notably being Anna Martin on Savvanvalley Classic whose 8 faults dropped them from 2nd to 52nd after showjumping.
The cross country mirrored that of the BE100 in terms of influential fences but only 39 of the 103 who set out cross country picked up jumping penalties. The time though proved fairly influential with several riders picking up a significant number for going too fast including most of the top ten, one rider slipped from 14th after showjumping to 61st after racking up 16.8!
The top 20 once again became a list of double clears with only one rider with showjumping penalties creeping in. Laura Avery added nothing to her exceptional dressage score with her own stunning 14hh New Forest stallion Willoway Free Spirit.
Willoway Free Spirit is a 15 year old stallion who only turned to eventing in 2014, his BE record is exemplary with 9 double clears from his now 10 total outings. Spirit gave Laura an incredible ride cross country going all the direct routes and making all the distances with ease despite his small stature. Laura bought Spirit from the stud where he was born, originally he was a show pony but eventually Laura was able to jump him and started with working hunters before moving to eventing. She came only with the hope of a double clear so was utterly thrilled to lead from start to finish.Second place went to Anna Wiles who climbed from 21st after dressage and 11th after showjumping on King Of The Glen, finishing on their dressage score of 30.9. The 11yo Flagmount King gelding was having his second outing at Badminton having finished in 33rd in 2014. He sustained a tendon injury after this outing so had a prolonged period off to ensure he was fit and well which he proved he was with a series of top ten placings last year. Anna also won the kicking on over 40s award. Emily Atkins aboard Classiebawn Trooper added 2.8 time penalties to their impressive 28.4 dressage to finish third on 31.2. Emily was admittedly both nervous and excited coming to Badminton on Oscar in only her second season eventing. Her main aim was to complete and she wasn’t even considering the possibility of being placed never mind finishing 2nd. Emily from Kent was given Oscar for free by her Gran after he was purchased for her cousin but proved too much for them.