It is said that the sun shines on the righteous. This was certainly the case at the weekend for the last running of the Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa International event at Gatcombe Park.

Last March also saw the last running of the Land Rover Novice and Intermediate Horse Trials. However, the Festival of British Eventing, run in late July, will continue to run. Both sponsors have been loyal long term partners for both events.

The largest entry ever and riders from nineteen countries were blessed by glorious weather and provided some close and thrilling competition. A number of local riders featured strongly in the final results.

Throughout the weekend Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal presented the Trophies and Prizes to all the winning riders. She also participated, at Reception on Saturday evening, in present a surprise Trophy to Pattie Biden for organising 50 events at Gatcombe during the past 26 years. In turn both the Princess and Pattie received a present each from the CEO of British Eventing Jude Matthews.

The event included both International and National classes. The International sections titled CCI-S3*/2*.

CCI-S3* Somerset Farrier Alex Bragg on 15 year old Zagreb led from the start in a class of 86 competitors, and completed on their dressage score of 28.6 to claim the prestigious Guzerat Trophy. Alex and Zagreb have competed at Badminton and Burghley and were on the Team GB long list for the 2019 European Championships. Alex rode 8 horses during the three days and was placed in the top ten with 7 of them.

Runner up was 17 year old junior rider Molly Faulkner from Kent with her Mother’s 8 year old, Call Me Cooley also added no penalties Cross Country or Show Jumping to complete on their dressage score of 36.1. In 3rd place was Gatcombe based Tom McEwen with Lordships Graffalo. Tom had three horses in this class, finishing 5th with Brookfield Benjamin Bounce and 6th with Bob Chaplin. He rode 9 horses during the three days of the event which resulted in 5 top ten placings.

CCI-S2* Sec A There was a local 1-2 in this section with West Littleton’s Harry Meade and Brookfield Cavalier Cruise taking the win ahead of Stanton St Quinton’s Kitty King and Vendi Cruz. Phoebe Locke from Somerset took 3rd with Ardeo Fun Size. Kitty was also 9th with Fernhill Mojito whilst Zara Tindall and Gladstone finished in 13th place.

CCI-S2* Sec B It was so close at the top in this section; with just 0.5 penalties separated the top 3. The winner was Tim Rogers and Newton Belize who rolled a pole in the showjumping and added 1.2 time penalties Cross Country to complete on 33.4, just ahead of Michael Jackson from Northleach riding Brokenborough Bounce who added zero penalties to finish on their dressage score of 33.6. In 3rd was Italian rider Vittoria Panizzon and Caraghs Royal Quality who also completed on their dressage score of 33.9. Tim who is based with Harry Meade at West Littleton, competed 5 horses over the weekend and all finished with top ten placings, including 4th with Coolrock Cooley in this class.

The National Intermediate classes which ran on Friday saw two wins and a 3rd place for Oliver Townend, 1st in section F with Newmarket Caro, 1st in section G with Arklow Puissance and 3rd in section J with Miss Cooley. Izzy Taylor was also on form, winning section E with Hartacker and section I with Springwind Vangelis.

Saturday saw the National Novice horses competing. Local riders in the ribbons included Kitty King and Monbeg Hendricks who won section K. Long Newnton based Tom Grant took 2nd in section M with Socs Cavalier. South African Alexander Peternell who is based at Highworth, won section N with Antigone II and David Doel was 3rd with Reybridge River Danz.