The international classes at Belton International

       Pippa Funnell and MGH Grafton Street


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Modest as ever, Pippa Funnell smiles when I congratulate her on leading the dressage after the first day of the CIC3* competition at Belton International Horse Trials, but points out that ‘there are plenty more to come’ and says that she may well be taking it easy on cross country depending on how she finds the condition of the ground

MGH Grafton Street (Squirrel) is ‘one that I think a lot of’ says Pippa, who is still to finalise plans for the rest of the horse’s competitions in the first half of the year


Pippa Funnell


Pippa and MGH Grafton Street lead on a score of 28.50, just a smidge in front of Ireland’s Jonty Evans on ‘the people’s horse’, Cooley Rorkes Drift on 28.80 while Ros Canter riding Zenshera and Piggy French on Vanir Kamira are even closer behind Jonty in equal third place on 28.90


      Piggy French and Vanir Kamira


Piggy also has Quarrycrest Echo in this class, currently in eighth place (30); last year this pair would have won this feature class, the Lycetts Grantham Cup, but for finishing one second over the optimum time in the show jumping.

Two Australians are in the top ten with Emma McNab on board the lovely Fernhill Tabasco in equal sixth place with Tom Jackson on Waltham Fiddlers Find, both on 29.60 and Paul Tapner on the Badminton-bound Bonza King of Rouges in ninth place (30.80)


      Bill Levett and Alexander NJ


Two other Australians were in the dressage arena today; in fact Bill Levett had problems getting out! After his second test on Alexander NJ, another Badminton entry, the gate keeper was obviously feeling a little sleepy and forgot to lift the rope, leaving Bill stranded in the arena. It was quickly remedied, once Bill politely asked if they would let him out and this pair currently sit in 17th place (34.40)


      Sam Griffiths and Gurtera Cher


Sam Griffiths’ young mare, Gurtera Cher, the winner of the CIC2* at Blair Castle last year with Shane Rose on board while Sam was still recovering from injury, is having her first CIC3* start here at Belton and, like everyone else, Sam has been struggling with preparation for the start of the season, especially as he doesn’t particularly like the mud although his Badminton winner, Paulank Brockagh, loves it!

Sam and Gurtera Cher are currently in 21st place (34.70)


Sam Griffiths


The CIC2* riders also started their competition today with Chris Burton and Bahira M leading the Section H on a score of 28 ahead of Ireland’s Austin O’Connor on Kilpatrick Knight (28.40) and Emily Baldwin riding Uppercourt Cooley (28.90). Chris also had a hit out with Nobilis 18 in the Intermediate riding HC as preparation for their next event, the CCI4* in Kentucky

The CIC2* Section I is led by Bubby Upton on Eros DHI (24.90) ahead of Tim Price on Falco IV (27.90) and Lizzie Baugh on Quarry Man (28.40). Tim and Bubby already have some ribbons to take home with Tim winning an Intermediate section today and Bubby taking second place on Mexican Wave in the Open Intermediate Under 21

Read our report on the Friday Novice classes and interviews with winning riders Kitty King and Lauren Blades here

Full scores here


      Bubby Upton and Mexican Wave