Cumbrian-born rider Mark Davidson scored by far the biggest payday of his career to date today when taking section A of the AW Jenkinson CCI3*-S at Burgham International Horse Trials on Fonbherna Lancer. Mark’s Burgham victory means he wins a £7,000 bonus for scoring in two legs of the Northumberland Challenge – the big-money prize-pot that unites the county’s three international events (Belsay, Alnwick Ford and Burgham).
Mark won on the The Round Table Syndicate’s 13-year-old grey last month at Alnwick Ford, and pulled off this second win at Burgham against a highly competitive field of top riders.
“It’s amazing – it’s not every day you win £7,000 and it goes a long way! I was reminded when I was warming up for showjumping that I probably won’t get to ride for prize-money like this again for another decade,” joked a delighted Mark, 30. “‘Lance’ was completely brilliant. He pricks his ears, says ‘Look at me’. We are still a new partnership – I managed to get a syndicate together to buy him for me to ride in the spring – and I was so pleased with him. He’s a total gentleman and a lovely horse to have anything to do with.”
Mark, who is based at leading rider Piggy March’s Northamptonshire yard, led the dressage on an impressive score of 21.1, showjumped clear and just picked up 1.2 time-penalties across country. His winning margin over second-placed Tom Jackson (Dazzling Intuition) was 7.8 marks.
Belsay organiser Laura de Wesselow, who started the Northumberland Challenge in 2022, said: “I am absolutely delighted for Mark Davidson and the Round Table Syndicate’s Fonbherna Lancer. We started the Northumberland Challenge last year across the CCI2*-S events at Belsay, Alnwick Ford and Burgham and extended it this year to the CCI3*-S with a total available prize pot of £45,000 generously provided by our sponsors, AW Jenkinson Forest Products (for the CCI3*-S) and Encon Technical Solutions Ltd and NIS Group Ltd (for the CCI2*-S). The whole idea of the Challenge is to encourage owners and riders, both amateur and professional, to make the journey north to our fabulous venues in Northumberland and we look forward to seeing more of them up here in 2024.”
Section B of the AW Jenkinson CCI3*-S at Burgham went to Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Laura Collett, riding the Ace of Spades Syndicate’s eight-year-old Fetiche Des Rouges.
Laura said: “He’s a little pocket rocket! I’m stand-in jockey for [Irish rider] Aoife Clark, who is injured – I’d prefer to be full-time jockey, because he’s so cool. I have had four runs now in quick succession to try to get used to him; he’s a bit of a cheeky chap, but he’s really come out and been a little professional here. He gallops like a thoroughbred but jumps like a warmblood, which is really nice! Today we felt like a proper partnership.”
The pair finished on a score of 33.3, while second-placed combination Arthur Duffort and JSC Bucket List completed on 37.
In the feature Holme Dodsworth Metals CCI4*-S, Ros Canter has held on to her day one lead on Izilot DHI in section C with a mark of 26, a fraction ahead of Piggy March and the grey stallion Halo on 26.2.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, part of Britain’s gold medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics and already dual winners of this class at Burgham, are in pole position in section D on 24.4. Again, Piggy March is 0.2 of a penalty behind, this time on Coolparks Sarco.
Showjumping and cross-country for the CCI4*-S classes start tomorrow (Saturday, 29 July). Visitors can enjoy a great variety of tradestands and locally produced food and drink while they are watching the sporting action – and there’s even a fun dog show on Saturday and Sunday to raise money for Burgham’s supported charity, the British Eventing Support Trust (BEST).
Burgham is thrilled to welcome Project Pony as its supporting partner for 2023. This new initiative aims to identify and support up-and-coming young riders by giving them the opportunity to compete on elite event ponies.
To buy tickets and for more information, please visit burghaminternationalhorsetrials.co.uk. Tickets will also be available to purchase on the gate.
If you can’t make it to Burgham, Horse & Country TV will be streaming the cross-country on both Saturday and Sunday – horseandcountry.tv.