The Grantham Cup at Belton Horse Trials | An Eventful Life

The Grantham Cup at Belton Horse Trials

Grantham Cup

Let’s start by explaining that the Grantham Cup is nothing to do with Downton Abbey. For Downton tragics (hands up here), it may be slightly confusing to learn that Lord and Lady Grantham, whose Downton Abbey is supposedly in Yorkshire (but is actually Highclere Castle in Hampshire) are nothing to do with the Grantham Cup which is awarded every year at the Belton Park Horse Trials in Lincolnshire, UK.  

Belton Park however has film credits all of its own, having provided locations for the filming of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice (1995), Tom Jones (1997), and Jane Eyre (2006). The cross country course, designed by Captain Mark Phillips, winds through the grounds of Sir John Brownlow’s beautiful 17th century house, now owned by The National Trust.

Olympic fence

One of the Olympic fences was positioned in the trade stand area for everyone to come and have their picture taken with a piece of Olympic history

With one of the coldest March’s on record, Stuart Buntine (Event Director) and his team of course builders had some dramatic challenges leading up to the event from an abundance of snow, wind, water and freezing temperatures.

“Because we are the only event in the UK to run on National Trust land we are extremely privileged to work with this beautiful Estate. We are very aware of our responsibilities, ensuring that we work closely with the estate team so to maximise the potential of what can be delivered for the course, whilst ensuring we take care of all the wonderfully diverse wildlife that Belton has to offer” says Stuart.

Vittoria Pannizon

In the end, although a bit nippy, the event enjoyed some sunshine and three days of good eventing with the Italian rider Vittoria Pannizon (above) having an excellent weekend, winning the CIC 3* Grantham Cup on Sarah Bullen’s grey mare Borough Pennyz as well as taking third spot on Rock Model and eighth place on Merlots Magic (maybe that’s her secret).

Belton Horse Trials

      Flags from 17 nations were flting at Belton, including Australia's

Germany’s Dirk Schrade and his Olympic mount, King Artus took second place, Oliver Townend third on ODT Sonas Rovatio and Australia’s Paul Tapner, a previous Grantham Cup winner, was fifth on Kilronan. Paul had a good dressage score of 37.2 and only added one rail show jumping and 6.4 time penalties on the cross country.

Bill Levett was also up in the field (98 completed) in 12th place on Shannondale Titan and was also 25th on Improvise and 65th on Silk Stone. Sam Griffiths and Happy Times finished in 27th, ahead of Mark Todd on NZB Regent Lad (29th) and Andrew Nicholson on Sintra BK (32nd). Sam was also in 40th place on Paulank Brockagh and Kevin McNab 52nd on Clifton Pinot.

New Zealand’s Tim Price (a very genial host, Libby Law tells us) had a good win in the CIC2* on Ringwood Sky Boy, adding only 1.6 time penalties to his dressage score and Bill Levett also picked up a ribbon in this class with fifth on Alexander NJ.

All photos courtesy Bede Events