Andrew puts up good fight but loses crown

Andrew had to settle for second in both the three-star classes at Barbury this year!

Podium presentation for the CIC3* ERM (Image: Libby Law Photography)

A Frenchman has stolen Andrew Nicholson’s King of Barbury crown by beating him in the Event Rider Masters 3* competition, and making the win a convincing one! Andrew also finished second in the CIC3* B class.

FRA-Thomas Carlile rides Upsilon to take the Title during the CIC3* ERM Cross Country. 2017 GBR-St James’s Place Weath Management Barbury Castle International Horse Trials. (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Finishing on a score of 32.4, after adding just 1.6 time penalties to his dressage, Thomas Carlile and his very special stallion Upsilon had control of the competition from the start and never looked like relinquishing it.  Andrew and Nereo added one show jumping time penalty and 5.6 cross-country time faults to their dressage score, and finished on 41.5.

Andrew Nicholson rides Nereo during the CIC3* ERM Cross Country. Final-2nd. 2017 GBR-St James’s Place Weath Management Barbury Castle International Horse Trials. (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Andrew paid tribute to his horse Nereo saying he did a wonderful job.  “We stayed in a nice rhythm on cross country as I felt Thomas and Upsilon had a strong lead, so didn’t want to scorch around trying to catch them. I expected them to deliver and they did. My fellow is a wonderful horse and we know each other very well.  I am delighted for him and all his connections.”

Andrew Nicholson and Nereo (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Sir Mark Todd finally made it to the podium of an ERM class, finishing third on Leonidas II after two great jumping phases, adding just 2.8 time faults to finish on 42.3. Sir Mark  celebrated his first ERM podium finish, taking third place.  A win or placing in the series has eluded Todd to date, but Leonidas II was foot perfect in both the showjumping and cross country, finishing on a score of 42.3.

Sir Mark Todd – all determination on Leonidas II during the CIC3* ERM Cross Country. (Image: Libby Law Photography)

“It’s gone very well this weekend.  I have been fighting ERM demons in previous legs, but it’s all come together today.  Barbury is one of the most beautiful eventing venues in the world and it’s a great to be part of the series and finally get on the podium!”

Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II were impressive in all phases but particularly the jumping ones (Image: Libby Law)

Tim Price, riding Jonelle’s Cekatinka, was sixth on 48.9, adding just 1.6 time. He said afterwards that he thought Jonelle should give him this mare as a reward for keeping her horses going during her pregnancy! Yeah right, Tim!

Tim Price rides Cekatinka during the CIC3* ERM Cross Country. (Image:  Libby Law Photography)

Only one rider made it through without any time faults, Frenchman Sidney Dufresne on Tresor Mail who finished in fourth place.

Jesse Campbell, who was third after dressage, had a disastrous show jumping, taking four rails, and elected to withdraw before the cross-country on Kapaachino.

Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino didn’t go on to do the cross country after having four rails in the show jumping (Image: Libby Law Photography)

It must be disappointing for the ERM organisers that a total of 12 riders out of a field of 40 withdrew at some stage of the competition. Poor Marcio C Jorge was eliminated in the dressage for making three course errors.

Thomas Carlile became the first rider in the series to lead a ERM leg across all three Eventing phases. On Day 1, they delivered a stunning dressage test, scoring a remarkable mark of 30.8 –  the lowest ever seen across the entire series and a personal best for the combination.  Then, following a faultless showjumping performance on Day 2, the combination set the Barbury crowd alight with a superlative jumping round on the cross country. Thomas added just 1.6 time penalties to his dressage score and scooped the £16,000 first prize. The result was an all-time record finishing score in the ERM series of 32.4.

“All my words go to Upsilon, he is superb” said Carlile reflecting on his outstanding ERM win. “I just sit on him and let him get on with his business and he has risen to the occasion this weekend.  He’s a class act and is certainly on form and hopefully there is a still lot more to come from him”.

Carlile also joins 2016 ERM champion Oliver Townend (GBR) as the only rider in the entire series to have topped the podium twice.  His Barbury win positions Carlile at the top of the overall 2017 ERM series scoreboard with 56 points.  Sarah Cohen (GB) is in second with 51 points and Andrew is lying third with 50 points.

Thomas Carlile rides Upsilon during the CIC3* ERM Showjumping. Interim-1st. 2017 GBR-St James’s Place Weath Management Barbury Castle International Horse Trials. Sunday 9 July. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

The CIC3* B competition was a great win for William Fox-Pitt on NZ horse Clifton Signature. A huge cheer greeted William at the finish as he scored his biggest win since returning to the saddle after a serious head injury in a fall in the autumn of 2015. Last to go on Mark Phillips’s influential track, the former world number one rode with skill and determination and came home just four seconds over the optimum time, sealing the victory over Andrew Nicholson on his rising star, Swallow Springs.

William Fox-Pitt rides Clifton Signature to take the Title during the CIC3* Section B Cross Country. 2017 GBR-St James’s Place Weath Management Barbury Castle International Horse Trials. Sunday 9 July. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

‘It’s my biggest win for ages; a great surprise,’ says William, for whom it was only a second competition on Frances Stead’s Clifton Signature. The horse, formerly ridden by Jock Paget, is for sale and William has been endeavouring to buy him through a syndicate; hopefully this win will make that job easier.

Presentation to the Winner’s Owner: Francis Stead, during the CIC3* Section B Prizegiving. GBR-William Fox-Pitt and Clifton Signature. 2017 GBR-St James’s Place Weath Management Barbury Castle International Horse Trials. Sunday 9 July. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

William last took this class in 2005 on Ballincoola. He has won at two-star level since returning from injury, but this is easily his most pressured and high-profile victory. ‘I’m not known for winning one-day events – I usually have loads of time faults – and I wasn’t sure this morning that I was going to go for it,’ he says. ‘But then I thought “I’ll have a go” and the horse got better and better. I like him – he’s fun, he’s no-nonsense and he’s well trained and knows what to do.’

Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs – lots of potential there! (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Tim Price finished fourth on Ringwood Sky Boy, adding 7.4 time to his dressage score.

Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy after the CIC3* Section B Cross Country. (Image: Libby Law Photography)

Tina Cook, who led after the first two phases on Billy the Red, withdrew before cross-country and Kitty King, lying fifth on Vendredi Biats, retired after a run-out. British number one Oliver Townend finished third on Note Worthy.