World-class eventing returns to Cirencester Park
For the first time since the early 1970s, some of the world’s leading horses and riders could be seen competing in the grounds of Cirencester Park this weekend (30 April – 2 May) as affiliated eventing returned to the iconic Gloucestershire venue.
The 2021 Cirencester Park International Horse Trials were warmly welcomed back into the eventing calendar by riders and supporters alike, with more than 700 horses competing over the three days. Competitors were treated to all four seasons across the weekend – from moments requiring short sleeves and sunglasses, to dodging hail stones the size of marbles – but thanks to the hard work and efforts of the team at Willis Brothers and Alec Lochore, the Park was in fabulous condition throughout.
“It’s a beautiful place that gave us such a great canvas to work with,” said Event Director, Alec Lochore. “It’s wonderful to be bringing eventing back here. It’s a lovely piece of ground, this old turf works really well, and the estate has been great to work with; so, it’s really exciting.”
Saturday saw the return of Advanced classes to Cirencester Park – almost fifty years since Lucinda Green and Be Fair won the competition at the Midland Bank Open Championship back in the early 1970s. That was undoubtedly an exciting time in Lucinda’s career, showing promise of the extraordinary things to come, and there were plenty of eye-catching performances from combinations competing over the weekend who will be hoping they can emulate some of that remarkable success.
Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine followed up on their superb CCI4*S win at the FEI Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International Horse Trials with a win in Advanced Section K. The lovely 9-year-old gelding, owned by Camilla and Alex Wakeley, just keeps developing and looks a real star for the future.
“I was over the moon with Cristal Fontaine’s win today,” said Kitty of their success. “He was fantastic in all three phases and gave me a wonderful ride cross country. To be able to come out here and win after his great performance a fortnight ago, really shows what a consistent performer he is. It was lovely to be able to run the horses on such good ground.”
Advanced Section I went to Tom Jackson and the Jewson’s mare, Billy Cuckoo. “We are delighted with Billy Cuckoo,” said Tom. “She has had a great start to the season with a good result at Burnham Market as well. Her aim is to go to Luhmuhlen and we are hoping she can continue with her recent form.”
Alexander Bragg won Advanced Section J with another very promising mare, Quindiva. The only combination in their Section to avoid time faults on the cross country, their gutsy and speedy performance was rewarded with the win.
“Quindiva did a very professional job today,” said Alex. “Her dressage test was mistake free and she made light work of the jumping phases. The ground was good to gallop on, and I’m thrilled that we have Cirencester in the Eventing calendar.”
Bubby Upton’s performance was truly masterly in the Advanced U25 class, filling three of the top six places. She finished third with Cannavaro and sixth with Magic Roundabout IV but the performance of the day came with Cola III. A super performance from start to finish saw them finish on their dressage score of 30.1 to take the win.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with how all three of my horses performed,” said Bubby. “It was great to secure the win and to have all three of them in the Top 10. I was so proud of how they all jumped, as I’ve been working hard on the show jumping over the winter. It was also very special as it was Magic Roundabout’s first Advanced, so it was extremely exciting how easily he made the step up.
“I thought the show jumping and cross country courses were really good and rewarded correct riding and accuracy. It was so nice to compete at Cirencester Park for the first time. What an incredible venue it is and with the rain we had it made the ground perfect for Saturday. I’m very much looking forward to returning next year.”
The International classes were also decided on Saturday; with Amelia Walker and Dassett Eventing’s extremely promising young horse, Dassett Rock Star, coming out on top of the hotly contested CCI-S 2*. The combination led from start to finish, following up an impressive dressage test with clears across the board.
“The Dassett Eventing team put a huge amount into producing the young sales horses, so we are all absolutely delighted with Dassett Rock Star's win,” said Amelia. “He's been a successful horse throughout his career and it's great to carry this through to international level too. I’m very proud of him!”
In the CCI-S 2* for ponies, the win went to Ellie Martindale and Little Indian Feather. The combination looked strong from start to finish, completing on their dressage score to finish just ahead of Anna Price and Black Jacko in second.
In total, more than 20 classes were contested over the three days with full results listed below.
Full results 2021:
(Section I) Tom Jackson and Billy Cuckoo (28.1)
(Section J) Alexander Bragg and Quindiva (30.7)
(Section K) Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine (26.3)
(Section H) Bubby Upton and Cola III (30.1)
(Section L) Amelia Walker and Dassett Rock Star (26.4)
(Section M) Ellie Martindale and Little Indian Feather (31.1)
(Section A) Harry Meade and Russeljacket (29.3)
(Section B) Ludwig Svennerstal and Vivero (28.4)
(Section C) Caroline Harris and Amoroso Gigi Z (30.5)
(Section F) Laura Collett and Jalba O (23.1)
(Section D) Piggy March and Sportsfield Top Notch (23.6)
(Section E) Piggy March and Brookfield Inocent (28.0)
(Section G) Sarah Bullimore and Starbucks (20.2)
(Section N) Kate Welch and Dicali OHZ (28.3)
(Section O) Imogen Murray and Jezebel HDH (20.5)
(Section P) Sammi Birch and Jutopia (21.3)
(Section Q) Ludwig Svennerstal and Sir Villmer (27.8)
(Section R) Flora Harris and Dysart Elite (22.8)
(Section S) Laura Collett and Fein Cera Gravelotte (25.3)
(Section T) Tara Murphy and Rincoola Rolo (20.5)
(Section U) Sasha Hargreaves and Woodlands Be Daring (28.5)