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By Jacky Green, follow @jacks_green on twitter.
With its prime spot in the calendar and massive entries Hartpury is always a “destination” event for riders heading for Autumn three day events. Keyflow’s Key Riders Tim Price, Jonelle Richards, Mark Todd and Jesse Campbell all had a busy few days with some great results. The talking point of the weekend was however the friendly but determined rivalry between husband and wife Price and Richards as they fought it out for a podium placing in the big CIC***.
Indoor Dressage not for Eventers…
The outdoor arenas at Hartpury are situated on the huge all weather, with flags, tradestands, sponsorship banners and a natural bank that is crammed full with spectators. Quite why the organisers run the feature class, the CIC***, in the gloomy, eerily quiet indoor school is a mystery. Most of the crowd weren’t aware that it was on, so instead, watched the lower level CCI one and two star outdoors.
Unlike dressage horses, Event horses do not spend that much time indoors and many really do not like it! Mark Todd was one to suffer saying that Leonardis “got a bit tense” in the unfamiliar surroundings for a slightly disappointing mark of 50. Jesse Campbell was first to go at 8.30am with Kaapachino and scored well for a 46. Todd’s second ride, Up N Go “totally freaked out in the indoor” for an off the pace mark, while Tim Price and Jonelle Richards, who are one of the few event riders to have access to an indoor at home, capitalised with a head to head score of 42.3 for Wesko and a 43.6 for The Deputy.
Saturday Sunshine for the Showjumping.
With the CIC*** running over a 100 horses it was great that the sun shone and the packed audience actually got to see the International riders and horses. With a big track and technical lines, clear rounds were valuable. Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino jumped a great round for a clear which left him delighted. Tim Price and Wesko, who are masters at this phase, jumped a copybook round. Tim must have felt he had gained a decent advantage over his wife, Jonelle, at this point as The Deputy does not always have the greatest conscience over the coloured poles. But, as always when it counts, Jonelle gave The Deputy a magic ride for a clear round and put the pair back on track for a head to head. Mark Todd’s Leonardis is a lovely young jumper and he was unlucky to just roll a pole while Up N Go was also not catching the eye of the Lucky Fairy as he caught the very edge of the last fence on the course.
With the CCI* and CCI** running cross country first and seeing a series of holds the CIC*** started over an hour and twenty minutes late which is not ideal. It was a shame to see so many people walking off course at 5pm when there was still over half the class to run and it seems peculiar that Hartpury don’t make more of running it in the middle of the day as opposed to the end.
Jesse Campbell was first out and rode a classy clear on the experienced Kaapachino for eventual 14th place and a great final run before he heads to Blair Castle for the CCI***. Jonelle Richards and The Deputy simply stormed around for just 1.2 time and her ride from the corner to the big brush was as smooth as anyone all day. Into the lead she went and later ran Flintstar more conservatively for his final Burghley prep.
Mark Todd was happy with Leonardis, saying he “felt very good cross country” but since he was not really at the sharp end ran him for 12 time. That’s actually a pretty fast time at Hartpury, but that is the magic of Sir Mark, he can cruise round making everything look copybook and as if he is at a canter when he is still effortlessly covering the ground. Leonardis heads for the 8/9 year old class at Blenheim where he will certainly be one to watch. Up N Go had a few steering issues with a new bit and went a bit green, but he still came home with confidence and has another one day run before he heads to Blenheim for the CCI***.
Late in the day all eyes were on Tim Price as he and Wesko were just 2 points ahead of The Deputy and Jonelle was home and dry on her score. Wesko has had a few blips at CIC*** with the odd 20 cross country so it was a brave move to go for time and Wesko answered all the questions, finishing just one second slower than The Deputy which put him just point 9 ahead of them! And then along came Christopher Burton and Temprillano to spoil the party, they were the only combination to make time and took the lead. It was still a pretty amazing result, you don’t get to see husbands and wife on the podium that often and a great end to the weekend.