11:11 01 May 2014
Zara Phillips won the section T event on Sunday at the Bicton Arena riding Mr Murt, writes Lucy Johnson.
The win comes just three months after giving birth to her first child.
She was among the competitors at Bicton Arena over the weekend where an additional day was added to its two-day competition after Withington Manor in Gloucestershire was cancelled due to bad weather.
Phillips, a member of the Great Britain Olympic team that won a silver medal at London 2012, returned to competitive riding last weekend following the birth of her first child in January. At Bicton she rode two horses going clear across country and show jumping on both Mr Murt and CG Master Lux and finishing with top ten placings.
Arena manager Helen West said: “Zara was lovely and very grateful that we were able to accommodate riders with intermediate runs who were planning to go to Withington. We moved our own intermediate sections onto Friday to avoid the clash with Withington and the irony is that Withington then had to abandon.”
Within an hour of opening Sunday’s classes on Friday evening Bicton received 100 entries. They were closed at 1pm on Saturday to enable scheduling of competitors. The competition attracted more than 700 competitors over the three days with a huge team of volunteers making the third day possible.
West said: “Everyone was amazing in coming forward to help and the team spirit and comradeship has been incredible. I ended up with more volunteers today than on the other two days. Jane Holderness-Roddam was supposed to judge at Withington and came to us instead, bringing with her three working pupils who helped in the showjumping. The fence judges and the showjumping judges all wanted to stay and help too.
“The feedback has been overwhelming, which has made all the effort worthwhile. People have been very appreciative and complimentary. Miranda Collett, our entries secretary has been amazing, doing all the scheduling and timings for all the competitors.”
Other profile riders re-routed yesterday include Lucinda Fredericks, Paul Tapner, Jonelle and Tim Price, Kitty King, Charlotte Agnew, Daisy Berkeley and Aoife Clarke who rode her 2013 Blenheim CCI*** winner Fenyas Elegance in the open intermediate.
Bicton Arena is hopeful that in the future the governing body of the sport, British Eventing, will award it international status.
“There are very few international classes in the south and if we could host a one or two star CIC it would enable riders to progress through the ranks. Many competitors are also really keen that we have an advance track here, because there are so few advanced tracks in the south west too,” said West.
Sponsors at the event include Everys, a south-west based firm of solicitors, Rathbones is a new sponsor of the main grass arena, Mole Valley Farmers, Harrison-Lavers & Potbury’s, Land Rover, Devon Contractors Ltd, Cheffings Equine and Wychanger Barton and the Western Morning News.