By Rebecca Rhodes

For the second year running, a New Zealand rider won the CIC** event at the Whatley Manor International Horse trials held at Gatcombe Park.

James Avery from Hungerford led from the outset on the seven-year- old gelding Vitali. James completed the cross country phase adding just 1.2 time penalties, the fastest round of the day and then rolled a show jumping pole, but still held on to his lead to win the prestigious event and collect the Guzerat Trophy from HRH The Princess Royal.

Runner-up was Ros Canter with Pencos Crown Jewel. Ros was a member of the GB Gold medal winning team at the European Championship’s last month in Poland. Third-place went to last year’s winner, Oaksey-based New Zealand rider Dan Jocelyn with Fjury.

Highworth-based Australian Paul Tapner won the CIC* class on the striking grey Bob Chaplin, owned by Paul and local long-time supporters of eventing, Fred and Penny Barker, the six-year-old horse now heads to the Young Horse Championships at Osberton later this month.

Runner-up was Swindon’s Julia Norman with Joblesse Van Bareelhof, closely followed in third by Gatcombe’s Zara Tindall on Drops of Brandy, the only competitor to complete on her dressage score.

Kitty King (Drewmain Firefly) from Stanton St Quinton took fifth with Jonty Evans (John The Bull) from Shipton Ollife in sixth.

Highlighting the International element of the competition, this year saw officials from the USA and Thailand judging the dressage phases, an FEI steward from Canada and the return of Marc Donovan from the USA to build the show jumping tracks.

A new CIC** cross country track this year was designed by Captain Mark Philips.

The national classes saw a win for Zara Tindall riding The Precious One in Friday’s Intermediate section C.