Tom Jackson and Giovanni Ugolotti win at Gatcombe International

     Tom Jackson receives the Guzerat Trophy from HRH The Princess Royal


An Eventful Life filmed all competitors on cross country at

Whatley Manor International Horse Trials at Gatcombe Park - find out more here


If you are friends (real ones that is, not the Facebook variety) with Tom Jackson or Giovanni Ugolotti, then you should be very nice to them in the next few days and you may end up with a treat.

At the Whatley Manor International Horse Trials at Gatcombe Park on Sunday the boys each won an overnight stay for two at Whatley Manor Hotel including dinner and full use of the award-winning Spa. We all know that in general the prize money in eventing is not really worth getting out of bed for (and let’s face it, prize money isn’t why most eventing riders compete) but this prize is certainly one that should leave them wanting to get into a four poster bed feeling relaxed, refreshed and replete


A member of the Italian Army Equestrian Team before coming to England, Giovanni salutes as the Italian National Anthem is played


For Giovanni another treat was that the six-year-old mare that won the CIC1* class, Penhill Celtic, is showing real promise for the future with three wins in a row at Burgham (Novice), Keysoe (Novice) and now the 1* at Gatcombe Park

At all three events Penhill Celtic, by Je T’Aime Flamenco, has finished on her dressage score which, at Gatcombe, saw her lead from start to finish on a score 28


Giovanni Ugolotti


Italy was doing well in the dressage stakes with Lorenzo Monachesi riding Euphorie scoring 28.7 but two rails in the morning show jumping dropped them out of contention whilst David Sherrin on board Today’s Special and Phoebe Locke with Union Fortunus both finished on their dressage scores of 31 and 31.8 to take second and third places

Giovanni is a local rider, being based with his wife, Canadian eventing rider Kathryn Robinson, at Cranford Stud in Naunton, Gloucestershire but the local rider that the press had their eyes on this weekend was Zara Tindall. Zara has recently returned to the saddle after having her second baby Lena in July, riding Gladstone in the 1* here for 22nd place and High Kingdom in the Open Intermediate for sixth place

Fences 16 and 18 were the problem obstacles for this class with 11 riders having problems at 16 and seven running into problems at 18


       Alice and Freedom Hill over the troublesome Fence 4C


Paul Sims and Blowell Beeline took fourth place in the CIC1* but the excitement for the Sims/Bate eventing team this weekend centred around a member of their staff, Alice Tracey. Alice and her own eight-year-old gelding Freedom Hill improved on their very good fourth place in the CIC1* at Houghton International earlier in the year with second place here in the CIC2*.

It was oh so nearly a win for Alice and Freedom Hill who started with a cracking dressage score of 21.8, well ahead of Lucy Jackson on Willy Do (27.5) and Tom Jackson on Dusty II (27.8) and Alice then successfully negotiated the cross country course without penalties, including the troublesome Fence 13 and Fence 4 where three riders parted company from their horse early on in the course


      Lucy Jackson and Willy Do


New Zealand’s Lucy Jackson added 4.4 time penalties on cross country but jumped a lovely clear in the show jumping to finish in fourth place (31.9) on board past 4* eventer Willy Do who is coming towards the end of his career

“We were thinking this could be his last event – he’s 17 years old and he has given me so much” said Lucy “But he’s gone so well and seemed to love competing at this level this weekend so we’ll see how he goes and what his owner says. You don’t get many horses like Willy Do in your life and I’ll really miss him; we had a blast out there on cross country today. Someone said to me recently that we’re like an old couple who finish each other’s sentences – I point him at a fence and say here you go and he takes over from there!”


      Bubby Upton and Cola III


Bubby Upton was the one chasing Alice after the cross country with a very classy double clear round on Cola III but a rail in the show jumping was expensive, dropping them to fifth place while Tom Jackson and Dusty II showed a clean pair of heels all the way around the coloured poles, showing Dusty’s experience at higher levels

Alice cantered in with 7.2 penalties in hand but sadly it wasn’t enough to give them the first big win of their career when two poles fell


      Tom Jackson and Dusty II


Tom and Dusty II took the win and now look forward to moving back up to 3* level


Tom Jackson


Alex Bragg had a very good ride on the leggy 17.1h King of the Mill who certainly looked the part at the presentation and during all three phases, adding nothing to his dressage score of 30.6.


      Alex Bragg and King of the Mill


Alex had a busy few days with seven horses competing and took home a win on board Quindiva in the Intermediate Section E. It was an international affair for the other Intermediate winners Britain’s Izzy Taylor on Fonbherna Lancer, Italy’s Paolo Torlonia on Bambino De Lilatte and Brazil’s Carlos Parro on Goliath III while the USA’s Liz Halliday-Sharp on Cooley Quicksilver and Izzy Taylor on Monkeying Around took the two Open Intermediate sections

Liz also won the Novice Section I on Cooley Copresenter on Friday while the Novice sections on Saturday and our cross country video prize winners are listed here


       What a great face! We all fell in love with Lance A Little, ridden by Toby Pigott, 6th in the CIC2*