Jonty jumps to the top at Belton International

      Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift


The emotion was clear on Jonty Evans’ face as he accepted the Grantham Cup from representatives of the title class sponsor, Lycetts Insurance, and called upon anyone present who had helped fund the purchase of his horse Cooley Rorkes Drift (Art) last year to come up and join him on the stage as part owners

The story of Jonty and Art was a focal point of last year as Jonty valiantly organised a Crowdfunding project to purchase the Irish bred horse. It isn’t the usual way of funding such an acquisition, but it worked amazingly well for the pair who are now headed to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on a high

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing as Jonty explains, making this, his first international and first 3* win, even sweeter on the horse that ‘has given me the most pleasure and the most grief’


Jonty Evans


      Piggy French and Vanir Kamira are on great form heading to Badminton


Jonty had quite a wait to discover he had won with a few very likely contenders ahead of him after the dressage and show jumping. He headed out on cross country on his dressage score of 28.8 and added just 3.6 time penalties to finish on 32.40 but Pippa Funnell, William Fox-Pitt, Gemma Tattersall, Piggy French and Francis Whittington, to name a few could have overtaken him.

However Pippa picked up 20 penalties on both of her horses to drop out of contention, Francis put up a valiant fight to survive the influential Fence 6ABCD by the skin of his teeth on Hasty Imp (more to come on that ....) adding 8.4 time penalties for seventh place. William took the long option at that same complex on board Little Fire, a young horse he brought here for experience, adding time penalties on a pre-planned steady run and unfortunately dislodging a frangible to drop down the leader board

Piggy French and Vanir Kamira added just 4.8 time penalties to their dressage score for second place, making it a very tight finish on 33.70, just 1.3 penalties behind Jonty. However the plan was not to come here for a win but to ensure that they had a good 'partnership building' run before Badminton and Piggy now knows that there is plenty more in the tank when she needs it in two weeks' time

Based on this performance, look out for Piggy and Vanir Kamira at Badminton when they move into fifth gear.


Piggy French


      Gemma Tattersall and Pamero 4


Gemma Tattersall’s first cross country ride in this class was on Arctic Soul, the ex-racehorse who just eats up the ground but today his unbridled enthusiasm (unbridled in the sense that he had control of the bridle!) was a little too much even for Gemma who loves this horse with a passion

After going to two events and not running cross country due to cancellations, Arctic Soul was keen to get going today but, having taken control, his judgement was somewhat impaired at the Lycetts Leap, another very influential complex, and they picked up 20 penalties

Gemma’s second ride on Pamero 4 was much more text book riding and they finished in third place, adding just 4.4 penalties to their dressage score to finish on a score of 34


Gemma Tattersall


Another Badminton-bound combination, Flora Harris and Bayano also had a very good run leading up to the big event, finishing in fourth place and adding just 4.4 time penalties to their dressage score to finish on 35.20 while Ros Canter and Zenshera took fifth place (36.50) and Australia’s Chris Burton rounded out the top six (36.80) riding Quality Purdey

Stay tuned for much more to come from this huge event at Belton International ………

Full results here


      Fifth placed Ros Canter and Zenshera (above) and Izzy Taylor on Director General (below) finished in eighth place


       How high can you go? The jump of the day has to go to Tom Jackson on Carpa Du Buisson Z