Francis Whittington takes third British Novice title
Francis Whittington gave Sarah Arrowsmith’s Brother Bertie a bold ride to defend his Dodson & Horrell British Novice title. The pair were fifth after the dressage and showjumping phases and produced one of only two rounds inside the optimum time.
William Fox-Pitt was next to go across country and set off with four seconds in hand to win, but his stylish round on Susan Eggleton’s lovely seven-year-old mare Grafennachtwas incurred 2.8 time penalties, putting him just 0.9 behind Francis.
Cotswolds-based Italian rider Vittoria Panizzon was third on Gebaliaretto and Hayden Hankey, the only other rider inside the optimum time, leapt from 16th after the first two phases to eventual fourth on Cartown Galaxy. Pippa Funnell dropped two places fifth with six time penalties on Billy Wonder.
Izzy rode Jennie Loriston-Clark’s impressive stallion Timolin, a son of the 2010 world dressage champion Totilas, and they finished in sixth place. Izzy was also seventh on her dressage leader, Springwind Vangelis.
Captain Mark Phillips’s course rode well with 27 clear rounds from the 36 cross country starters. Oliver Townend made a quite brilliant recovery when Patrickswell Scorpion twisted over the second, tricky downhill corner element of the Dodson & Horrell Stick Pile and Corner at 12ab, firing Oliver up his neck. Oliver was subsequently held on course and decided to retire.
Francis Whittington was celebrating a third Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship title; he won last year on DHI Purple Rain and in 2016 on Evento. The 11 year old Brother Bertie has been competed to this level by his owner.
“Once again, the British Novice Championship has provided a showcase for young stars of the future,” said Sam Horrell, CEO at Dodson & Horrell. “It was a great competition with a close result and especially exciting to see a son of Totilas in our championship.”