Festival of British Eventing Cancelled After Torrent of Rain Batters Britain

Oliver Townend and Finley du Loir jump in the rain at Gatcombe before its cancellation. Photo by Hannah Cole/Festival of British Eventing

The Festival of British Eventing, incorporating the British Open Championship and due to conclude with a full day of cross-country tomorrow, has been cancelled following a particularly wet and stormy day today made conditions on site unworkable.

This news comes after today’s competition schedule was revised at 9.00 a.m. this morning, with all Saturday cross-country pulled – Championship cross-country had been moved to Sunday, while non-Championship classes were abandoned entirely. Instead, showjumping in the main arena went ahead, with all other main arena novelty attractions cancelled in a bid to preserve the conditions as best as possible.

“It is with deep sadness and regret that, despite great efforts from the organising team, the decision has been made to abandon the Festival of British Eventing. This is especially disappointing that it happened during the event’s 40th anniversary,” says the Festival team in a post on their social media pages, delivered at 8.00 p.m. this evening. “The adverse weather experienced at Gatcombe today has made the site unsafe for the event to continue for all our competitors (human and equine) as well as the many thousands of spectators that were due on site tomorrow. Safety for all is our main priority.”

The Festival’s organising team has advised that “further information on the refund process will be provided in due course,” and added that they “would like to thank everyone involved in the event for their unwavering support and hard work over the past few days.”

Five classes had been set to run tomorrow: The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, which saw last year’s winner Amy Barlow leading with new ride Lisnaught Lady Cruise; the RoR/NTF Retrained Racehorse Championship, which was held overnight by Megan Brown and Don Stefano; the Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship, which saw Oliver Townend and En Taro Des Vernier in the top spot; the Evelyn Partners British Intermediate Championship, also held by Oliver Townend, riding Finley Du Loir; and the Magic Millions British Open Championship, held jointly going into cross-country by reigning champions Tim Price and Vitali and Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs.

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