Bettina Hoy made history as the first German rider to win the CCI3* at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, and she did so in style with a clear show jumping round on Seigneur Medicott.
She finished with more than 10 penalties in hand over the brilliant New Zealand rider Andrew Nicholson, who rose from fifth after cross-country to take the runner-up spot on his father-in-law Philip Channer’s Tesio.
Bettina, 53, has had a long and distinguished career, but this was her first CCI3* win for around a decade and she was thrilled.
“It’s amazing – it’s such a long time since I won anything big and to do it here at Blenheim is very special. What is nice is how pleased everyone is for me. I only compete three horses now, as I am a part-time carer for my parents.”
She revealed that the 10-year-old gelding is for sale and that she is hoping to form a syndicate to buy him as she considers the gelding, which started life as a show jumper, as a contender for next year’s European Championships, and even for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Local rider Lydia Hannon retained third place on My Royal Touch to score her best CCI3* result and Nicola Wilson moved up from sixth to fourth with a clear round on Bulana.
Hannah Sue Burnett from the USA hit two rails on Harbour Pilot to slip from second to fifth, but collected the prize as the best Blenheim first-timer.
Earlier on a sunny afternoon, the inaugural Event Rider Master series came to a thrilling climax with Frenchman Thomas Carlile, who was last out onto the cross-country, snatching the CIC3* win from Oliver Townend, whose second place was good enough to secure the overall series prize pot following wins at Gatcombe and Blair.
Thomas had the comfortable cushion of nearly five penalties in hand over Oliver when he set out across country on the eight-year-old grey stallion Upsilon and he came flying home with just 2.4 time penalties to secure the win.
“What a horse,” said Thomas. “I just put him in cruise control. He doesn’t like to touch brush so he does jump very high but he makes up for it with his gallop. He’s been perfect in every way this weekend.”
Oliver was thrilled with Cillnabradden Evo, a ride he took over from Andrew Nicholson when the New Zealander broke his neck last year, and says the horse seems to have found his niche. “I’m more than happy with the result. Thomas is a great rider on an unbelievable horse.
New Zealander Jonelle Price conjured a fast round out of Cloud Dancer II, winner of the young horse CIC3* last year, and finished only one second over the optimum time for third place.
Beanie Sturgis, sixth on Lebowski, and Australian rider Paul Tapner, eighth on Yogi Bear, were the only two riders inside the time.
Photo: Adam Fanthorpe/Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials