Saturday at Chatsworth International | An Eventful Life

Saturday at Chatsworth International

      A good day at the office for Piggy French


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Piggy French’s brilliant run of form continued with a double of wins at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials. The 38-year-old from Maidwell, Northamptonshire, has spent the week celebrating her first Badminton victory and now, less than a week later, adds a double of international wins with her star horses of the future.

Piggy, who was a member of Britain’s gold medal world championship team last year, won two two-star sections at Chatsworth, on Sportsfield Top Notch, owned by herself and partner Tom March’s March Stud and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Quality.

Michael Owen from Kelsall in Cheshire was delighted to score his first international win at Chatsworth, riding Alison Allman’s Hawksmoor.

“This is our Badminton,” he said. “It’s a lovely event and so special to win here because it’s always so competitive. Really, I would have been pleased with a top ten result.”


      Michael Owen and Hawksmoor


Owen finished on the same score as the talented Australian horseman Christopher Burton, riding Jefferson 18, but took first prize because he was nearest the optimum time. “I knew Chris was 11 seconds inside the time so I had a few seconds in hand to be closer. And I thought Chris had won enough!”

Cotswolds-based Vittoria Panizzon, who rides in the uniform of the Italian police, completed the quartet of two-star winners, riding Mandy Morrison’s Gebaliaretto. Like Owen, she is aiming her mount for the national championships at Gatcombe Park in August.

“Chatsworth is a really good education for young horses,” said Vittoria of 2020 Olympic course-builder David Evans’s course. “It’s challenging but inviting and although there are some big fences out there, they are so well designed that the horses jump them well.”


The top 3 Riders with Sam Horrell: 1st: (R) Katie Magee (Dollarney); 2nd: (L) Kazuma Tomoto (Vinci de la Vigne); 3rd: (L) Rosa Onslow (Diamond Sundance), during the Advanced Prizegiving


Katie Magee scored one of the biggest wins of her career, taking a competitive advanced section on Dollarney and beating Japan’s Kazumo Tomoto on Vinci de la Vigne by the tiniest margin of 0.1 penalty.

Tomorrow is the turn of the four-star horses to run across country over five-time Olympian Ian Stark’s track. Tomoto still leads one section of the prestigious Dodson & Horrell Challenge, from Britain’s Pippa Funnell on Billy Beware, while Julia Krajewski from Germany, a specialist at this level, is at the head of affairs in the other on her top horse Samourai du Thot.

In the Event Rider Masters, Britain’s Laura Collett executed a beautiful dressage test on London 52 to lead Krajewski on Amande de B’neville.

Thirty horses and riders came forward, but it wasn't going to be an easy job. Heavy rain had let to tricky, muddy conditions, and the assembled competitors were going to have to bring their 'A' game


      Laura Collett and London 52


Last year's ERM series runner-up, Laura came into the 2019 season hungry to go one better - and today, she got that mission off to a decisive start. Riding her Blenheim CCI4*-S winner London 52, Laura produced a copybook test to move to the top of the leader board in the afternoon's final session with a score of 26.9.

"He was super; he’s still so shy, and in an atmosphere like that, he does get a little bit tense" says Laura "But he stayed with me, even though he was pretty scared going up the centreline the first time when he saw the camera tower. Every time we went down that end, he froze a little bit, but at least he didn’t do anything too drastic!"

The German rider Julia Krajewski is well-known for her prowess between the boards, and she didn't disappoint. Riding the inexperienced Amande de b'Neville, she produced a 27.4 to sit in a close second place overnight.

"I’m very happy – Mandy, as we call her, definitely had her first experience in a big atmosphere in there," she says "But she didn’t seem to mind – she was very focused, very concentrated, and minding her feet, because it was very muddy in there! She was like, ‘this is dressage?! Okay…!’"


      Bill Levett and Shannondale Titan

Australia's Bill Levett is a familiar face in the ERM series, and he holds onto third place - and a podium position - overnight. He and the stalwart Shannondale Titan posted a 28.5, leaving them just 1.6 points, or four seconds across the country, behind our leaders.

"He was really with me, and allowing me to ride him with bravery, so I'm very pleased," says Bill. "Yesterday, I was feeling very apprehensive about the whole thing; coming in here seems to light them up, but today we got the work right and he was with me most of the time."

Olympic veterans and former Chatsworth ERM winners Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V hold fourth place overnight with a score of 28.7. Just a penalty point behind them in fifth sit fellow ERM leg winners Sarah Cohen and Treason.

The show jumping for the four-star classes starts at 8.30am tomorrow and cross-country at 9.30am.