Chris Burton and TS Jamaimo Win Festival of British Eventing CIC3* Thriller

It was a thrilling finale at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park today, where the Open CIC3* pairs contested a very challenging course that shook the leaderboard yet again. At the end of the day, the last on course Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh took an unfortunate tumble to sacrifice their lead, giving Australia’s Chris Burton and TS Jamaimo the win on a final score of 43.7.

The course, designed by Capt. Mark Phillips, was challenging due to the intense terrain — riders were faced with many steep hills and undulating terrain throughout the entire course. We saw a lot of trouble on course and a lot of tired horses coming to the start, but the good news is that on first report it appears that everyone is back in the barn in one piece.

Tied for the lead after show jumping, Oliver Townend withdrew Mr Hiho — one of 11 pairs to withdraw prior to cross country. Presumably with the Europeans approaching next month, many riders elected to save their horses after completing the CT. A few of the riders also commented on Twitter that the ground was rather hard today, which factored into their decision to run or to take it slower on the clock.

Chris Burton and TS Jamaimo, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by the TS Jamaimo Syndicate, are quite the experienced pair — you may remember them from a catch-ride win in the CCI4* at Adelaide in 2013. They laid down second fastest rounds of the day, adding 2.4 time to their dressage score for a final winning score of 43.7.

“It’s a really great venue and place that always gets us very excited,” Chris said in an interview with Rupert Bell. “And to be able to win it is something that I will be very proud of to have in my career. Capt. Mark Phillips has changed the course a bit this year, and I think it certainly made it tougher. It looks like it’s made the time hard to make, and a few more drop fences which is perhaps a bit more taxing on them. But it’s a nice course to ride … and so when you have a nice ride like that, you feel happy that you’ve done it.”

Many of the top rankings belong to the ladies today. We saw some top notch riding from Jonelle Price with Classic Moet and Nicola Wilson with the very fun looking Beltane Queen, whose quick and clear rounds were rewarded with a second and third place finish on the weekend.

Oliver Townend kept his second mount, Armada, in the mix and produced the sole double clear round of the day to move into fourth place overall. Armanda was originally third after dressage but tumbled down to 23rd after show jumping — another indicator of just how influential all three phases were this weekend.

Completing the top five are Louise Harwood and Whitson, jetting up from 16th to finish on a final three phase score of 53.5. Just two of the top 10 after show jumping finished in the final top 10, with the rest of the high finishers moving way up the board with quick and clear rounds.

Andrew Nicholson had a fall from Cillnabradden EVO at the last fence, I believe (I did not see it on the live stream) and subsequently withdrew his second ride, Perfect Stranger. I have not yet seen any updates on how he is feeling, but from the announcer’s comments he took a “hard knock”.

I must give a shout-out to William Fox-Pitt for his top class ride aboard Luxury FH. Luxury FH is newer to this level and had a green moment or two on course, but William took his time and gave them both educational rides that will make for a more confident horse the next time out. Even with a glance-off at a downhill combination, he gave many pats to give his ride an extra boost of confidence. Just another example of why he’s one of the best at what he does.

It was a very exciting day of cross country riding, so I hope you all enjoyed the fabulous live stream provided by British Eventing! We’ll be on the hunt for quotes and photos to add to this post, so keep checking back for more.

British Festival of Eventing: [Website] [Times] [Schedule] [Live Scores]

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