Locals reign supreme at Bicton International Horse Trials

PUBLISHED: 09:37 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 October 2018

William Fox-Pitt in action at Bicton International Arena. Picture DAWE WILMOT

William Fox-Pitt in action at Bicton International Arena. Picture DAWE WILMOT


The Westcountry proved the cream of the crop at Bicton Arena International Horse Trials where Newquay-based Katie Hancock claimed the Rathbones CIC2* at Bicton Arena International riding Coddstown Pet, writes Lucy Johnson.

It was a crowning moment for Katie, who has produced the eight-year-old to score some stunning successes having initially been purchased to go hunting.

Katie said: “She’s been absolutely amazing and she’s surpassed everything I thought she’d be. I always knew she was a good mare but she’s so quick for a shire cross thoroughbred and now she’s going around these cross-country courses”

Katie, a mum to three-year-old Harriet, started eventing as a hobby, but the bug truly bit and now she has aspirations to ride around Badminton’s formidable four star track.

Last year the combination won the prestigious Mitsubishi Motors Cup, a class she also finished second in this year with her other horse Chytodden Crystal Rose, and were second in the Magic Millions Novice Championships at The Festival of British Eventing.

“She’s qualified to go advanced and three star now so we’ll see, but I’d love to do Badminton,” said Katie, who added that she couldn’t event at such a level without the support of her mother Sue Hancock and partner Chris Dalley.

Katie lay in third after the dressage, a discipline she is helped with by Georgia Stokes, but pulled up to pole position after a stunning double clear, with Ella Woodhead on Westwood Mariner second and Tom McEwen third on The Magician.

Tom, the recent team gold medal winner at WEG, rode four horses in the class, all of which finished in the top 12. “The arenas here are great, with fantastic surfaces, and the cross-country ground was brilliant. Everything is superb here, so well done to the organisers for doing such a super job,” said Tom, adding, “As I had two seven-year-olds and two eight-year-olds out and the sunlight was changing as the day went on, I went a bit slower with the two younger horses, and got four very confidence-giving rides. So I’m very pleased. We’re all done for the season now and I’m looking forward to heading home to Gatcombe Park after a pretty amazing year.”

Cheryl Beer was a popular winner of the Goodbye Flys BE100 three-day competition riding her long term partner Madam Butterfly VI. It proved a busy three days for Cheryl, who juggled competing with her day job as a hairdresser at her salon in nearby Alphington, a business she owns with Carolyn Hepworth, her best friend and co-owner of Madam Butterfly.

It was a last minute entry for Cheryl, who was persuaded by Jane Rogers to compete as part of the First Team To Enter team along with Janou Bleekman and Hannah Ross-Franks. The team proved victorious with Jane also finishing second on Corrieview Merlin Magic, Janou third on Jannimesa Jewel and Hannah 11th on George VIII.

“It’s all down to Jane that I rode,” said Cheryl, who added, “It’s like winning Badminton to me. I had such a good team and we all got on so well supporting each other. The event here was amazing and being local to Bicton makes it even more special. I’ve ridden Butterfly since she was nine and she’s 17 now and she was fantastic today.”

Wiltshire’s Alicia Hawker headed the CIC*, sponsored by Empire Coachbuilders riding Amelia James’ Quantanamo Z, a horse she described as big moving and relaxed. “I’m only just getting to know him, but he’s a lovely kind, genuine horse. It was great fun riding him across country as he’s a very straight horse and capable,” she said.

The combination finished half a penalty ahead of Sam Gillespie and Coupe Du Monde Db Z, who had travelled from Leicestershire to compete.

“It was our first time here, and it’s been well worth the journey. I’ve been gifted the ride on Claude (Coupe Du Monde Db Z) by a really good friend of mine who is at university and doesn’t have the time. He’s a lovely horse and so easy to do,” he said.

Helen Marsh and her stunning mare Disco Chick were the popular winners of the Cavanna Homes, CCI*, a win that was all the more satisfying for Helen as she badly injured her leg earlier in the season. “I hurt my leg in June and I still have nerve damage,” said Helen, who added that the seven-year-old can be very hot-headed. “But she moves so well that she gets away with it. She did canter in her walk today in the dressage test.” Helen, who hails from North Somerset, acquired the horse after she arrived from Sweden. “She came to be sold and I ended up buying her. She’d either bounce or go flat out but she really tries and is a lovely horse.”

The Equine H 6/7 Year Old Section was won by Phoebe Locke from Glastonbury on David Ottewell’s Russell Z, a ride she only took over two weeks prior to the event. “She’s such a special horse and she cruised around the cross-country, making the time easy. Hopefully next year we’ll aim her for Tattersalls for the six- and seven-year-old championships and maybe a two star, with the World Championships for her age group at Le Lion the goal,” said Phoebe.

David Sheerin, general manager and head coach at Wellington Riding in Hampshire, was second on the seven-year-old Today’s Special was full of praise for the event saying: “It’s great to come to something that is so well organised, and that I don’t have to stress about, but that I can appreciate the effort put in by the whole team.”

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