Saturday, 30 June 2012

Barbury 2012 | Friday - Kiwis, Colletts, Coat Tails & Cross Country

Mark Todd & NZB Campino | Olympic Selection Contender - 5th After Dressage
The New Zealanders pretty much owned Barbury Castle Horse Trials today in the final day of CIC*** dressage, probably the largest, and most competitive 3 star class we've ever seen. With a truly international field of 110, four nations dominate the top ten, New Zealand (4), Great Britain (4), Australia (1), USA (1). The next ten tells a similar story with just Ireland's rising star Camilla Speirs on Portersize Just A Jiff in equal 15th, adding another nation into the mix.

I missed the rainy start to the day, and sadly also Phillip Dutton's ride on Mystery Whisper. I was however very pleased to have caught Mark Todd's ride on NZB Campino, probably his best team selection candidate for the London Olympics. Campino's test today might not have been the most exuberant & stunning we have seen over the past few days, or perhaps as good as his Houghton score in warm sunny conditions, but this was a very nice relaxed, athletic and correct test to score 44.0, just 2.4 marks off Andrew Nicholson's leading score of 41.6 on Avebury. I think Mark's horse has every chance of finishing on his dressage score here.

Group Hug | The US Shortlist With Mark Phillps
By all accounts the Americans are a little surprised (read dissappointed) by their scores, with only Boyd Martin's second or third string horse Remington XXV, who slotted into the top 10 (3rd). Today's conditions were nowhere near as good as yesterday, with rain for much of this morning, and a strong breeze plus little sunshine for the rest of the day, so I feel for the Americans, particularly Phillip Dutton, who must have performed a nice test in appalling conditions, yet only scored 48 (14th). You can read more Dressage commentary reporting & pictures from Samantha over on Eventing Nation, as I was lured away to the novice cross country.

Less than 5 points separate the top ten in the CIC*** and going on previous years' results at Barbury, I recon any of the top 15 have a chance of winning here, if they can keep a clean sheet over the weekend!

Laura Collett | Winner Of 2 Novice Sections
Just when I thought Laura Collett was out of my headlines for at least a little while, she popped up all over Barbury, to the point where I was beginning to think she has a twin! I've always loved watching the novice class at Barbury because it's quite a strong track, on par with Chatsworth, so you get to see some really special horses. One of the first horses I photographed was none other than Laura Collett, who chased Andrew Nicholson round the cross country course on a super sharp little chestnut horse called Longbarn Maisie, on which she won, finishing on a dressage score of 22!
Matt Ryan | Nicely Through The Adapted Box Water Fence

The Familiar Dolphin In The First Water Fence
The courses at Barbury have changed a little, and I was particularly pleased to see the box water fence which has quite a steep drop and step, particularly for novices, has had the step out removed, making this fence ride so much smoother - far less trappy than before. One of the best I saw through here was Olympic gold medalist, Matt Ryan. Unfortunately he got run away with a few fences earlier and had a 'drive by' at the skinny brush fence. The familiar dolphin in the dew pond had turned grey and was used for the novice course this year. This had a smaller dolphin in front of it (almost like a ground line), which I noticed one or two horses take a second look at. Over all the novice course rode really well and you get  to see horses really 'grab some air' like few other course can.

Laura Collett (Again!) | Riding Allora 3 In The CIC** 
Most of the CIC** horses in this country must have been entered here at Barbury with 3 sections running to over 250 horses! I had only watched one (well half of one) dressage test for the CIC**, Dan Jocelyn on Serious Opposition, which is a surprisingly striking horse, and Dan is out of the same mould  as Andrew Nicholson or Mark Todd as rider (just less miles on the clock), so a pleasure to watch. He won one of the noice sections today, although not with the horse his partner, Tanya Cleverly, had tipped me off about (Beaucatcher), but Brookfield Baker Street who finished on it's dressage score of 27.5.

With a friend riding in the CIC** I trundled off to the other side of the showground in golf cart late afternoon to watch their dressage, and surprise, surprise, there was Laura Collett again, this time on a very flashy looking dark coloured mare named Allora 3. I had heard Laura mention the horse before in tweets, but never seen it - what a truly classy looking horse, and one that has a useful record and Laura's respect. They scored 41.7 to sit equal 5th in their section after dressage.

There will be no coat tails flapping in the wind as we move on to showjumping and cross country tomorrow in the International classes. With a tail wind and hopefully some mobile reception, I'll be tweeting (Barbury's  sadly not built for mobile internet). In the meantime here's a few useful links:


Barbury Castle Horse Trials Website

Barbury Results

Photos from Uptown Eventing

If you can make it to Barbury, you should, it's fantastic family fun!

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