Mark Davidson leads from start to finish, winning the NAF Superflex CCI3*L

Cumbrian-born Mark Davidson and Fonbherna Lancer have won the NAF Superflex CCI3*L on the final day of the NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials, leading from start to finish and adding to their two CCI3*S wins this season. Mark is based with Piggy March who won yesterday’s NAF Magic CCI4*S and recently took two legs of the Northumberland Challenge. The attractive 13-year-old grey gelding, owned by The Round Table Syndicate, skipped around Eric Winter’s track on Saturday.

The day started with the final horse inspection. The Ground Jury made up of France’s Xavier Le Sauce and Great Britain’s Douglas Hibbert and Annabel Scrimgeour saw 55 horses come forward for the final horse inspection. A total of six horses were sent to the holding box for a further inspection but Wicklow Into Orbit (Lucy Richards), The Bossman II (Sarie Weaving), Viktor Krum (Millie Juleff) and Dolley Secret (Arthur Pottier) passed after being represented. Sadly, GSA Lance (Emma Hyslop-Webb) was eliminated by the Ground Jury while Wish List was withdrawn by his rider (Teri Rudkin) from the holding box.

Poles dropped a few combinations out of the top ten, although the top three remained as they were at the end of cross country day. Bill Levett and Brideview Master George had two rails down and dropped from 4th to 20th place. Michael Owen moved into the top ten (10th place) after jumping a clear round with McCarthy Mor.

Third-placed local rider Tom Woodward and Jaeger Master jumped a lovely clear round to stay on their overnight score of 29.6 and maintain their 3rd place. Bubby Upton and Its Cooley Time, who was completing his very first CCI3*L here at Hartpury, held their nerve and also jumped a clear round to stay in 2nd place.

Paul Connor’s course was up to height but rode well, proving a fair test following yesterday’s optimal conditions on the cross country.

NAF Metazone CCI2*L
61 combinations came forward for the final horse inspection of the NAF Metazone CCI2*L, presenting in front of the Ground Jury of Ireland’s John Lyttle and Great Britain’s Lizzel Winter and Jane Tolley. Good ground conditions on cross country day meant horses arrived looking fresh despite the exertions of the previous day.

Three horses were held, but after time in the holding box, Dolley Spectre (Franky Reid-Warrilow) and Balham Hill (Matthew Steel) were passed on reinspection while Kilnaboy Buffet was withdrawn by his rider (Chelsea Pearce).

Despite drizzle early in the morning, the show jumping phase took place in much better weather conditions with spectators lining the white rails of the International Arena.

Poles would prove expensive given how close the scores were high on the leaderboard. Padraig McCarthy and MGH Zabaione entered the arena needing a clear round to keep hold of second place. They held their nerve and jumped an immaculate clear round inside the time.

It was all down to Holly Woodhead and Guns N Roses to hold their nerve and jump a clear round in order to hold onto the lead that they had held since the dressage. However, there was heartbreak for Holly, they lowered a pole at the first fence and then also another at the eighth to drop down the field to 11th place and allow Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy and MGH Zabaione to take the honours and win the NAF Metazone CCI2*L.

Bubby Upton and Shannon Bertie jumped a lovely clear round improving their overnight placing and moving them to second. Millie Juleff has three horses at the event this weekend and finished 3rd in the NAF Metazone CCI 2*L on Kate Blue, jumping a lovely clear round and moving up from fifth place.

Tom Rowlands and The Mail Man, lying in tenth place before the show jumping, had two very expensive poles, adding 8 to his score, finishing on 39 and dropping down to 25th place. Coral Hardman and De Facto had one pole and 4 time penalties dropping them down from 7th to 17th.

Images courtesy of Jasmine Punter Photography

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