Oliver Townend lives the dream at Chatsworth

British Olympic gold medallist Oliver Townend won the showpiece CCI4* at Chatsworth International Horse Trials with a masterful display of cross-country riding on Mark and Angela Chamberlayne’s home-bred Dreamliner.

The world number one was deceptively quick across country on the 12-year-old, Jumbo-sired grey gelding, finishing nearest the optimum time of 6 minutes 5 seconds and incurring only two time penalties.

Dream ride: Oliver Townend and the Chamberlaynes’ home-bred Dreamliner secure victory in the showpiece CCI4* class at Chatsworth International Horse Trials with the fastest round of the day  (image, Tim Wilkinson Eventing Images)

‘He’s a very genuine horse,’ said Oliver. ‘Chatsworth is a very good event for setting you up for something big, and hopefully this will have been the perfect preparation for Luhmuhlen [five-star in Germany] next month.’

Podium trio (from left): Thomas Carlile (France, second), Oliver Townend (GB, first), Ros Canter (GB, third)  
(image, Tim Wilkinson Eventing Images)

French riders are frequent visitors to Chatsworth and Thomas Carlile put up a great display on the quality nine-year-old Darmagnac de Beliard to finish second, ahead of the world champion Ros Canter on the up-and-coming Pencos Royal Jewel.

‘This horse has always shown a lot of quality – he won the five-year-old championship in France – but the pandemic has meant that we have mostly been competing him in national events,’ explained Thomas, who is British born. ‘This is a lovely place and my horse has come on a lot with the atmosphere here.’

Ros, who led after the dressage and show jumping phases on Izilot DHI, opted for a steady, educational clear on this less experienced horse and finished in 12th place.

Oliver Townend receives the Chatsworth Trophy from the Duchess of Devonshire and Jess MacDonald and Susie Macarthur of lead sponsor Walker & Morland (Ros Canter is in the background)(image, Tim Wilkinson Eventing Images)

Bubby Upton competed four horses, finishing best on Cannavero in sixth place, and taking home the prize for the best under-25 rider.

Ian Stark’s challenging but fair course was a magnificent spectacle, thronged with interested crowds, and it rode well, with 69 clear rounds from the 86 cross-country starters.

The advanced class resulted in a superb win for former world champion Zara Tindall riding Gleadhill House Stud Ltd’s appropriately named Class Affair, who she will compete at Bramham next month.

A huge crowd enjoyed a brilliant weekend of family entertainment that included Pony Club jumping and scurry driving, the weekend supported for the first time by lead sponsor Walker & Morland.

‘We’re so happy that we have been able to bring the Horse Trials back, because we know how much it means to everyone,’ said event director Patricia Clifton. ‘It’s been a great weekend of sport in a perfect setting, the spectators and competitors all came back and we were so lucky with the weather.’

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