Frenchman Tom Carlile defended his Barbury Event Rider Masters (ERM) title in magnificent style, leading from the front on his striking grey stallion Upsilon who showed no signs of the diffidence that has marred some runs in the past 12 months and who jumped like a stag around Capt Mark Phillips’s testing, undulating cross-country track.
“Only a couple more wins and he’ll be a legend,” joked Tom, whose relief at having his star horse back on form was palpable. “The way he jumped the first skinny fence, straight through the flags with no hesitation, showed the mood he was in. It was just what we needed. Upsilon loves Barbury and so do I.”
Sussex-based British rider Gemma Tattersall is known for rising to the challenge in high-pressure situations and she rode a brilliant round on Clive Smith’s Pamero 4 to finish second, just ahead of the speedy Australian Christopher Burton on Trisha Rickards’ Polystar l, winners of the Arville ERM leg a fortnight ago and the only combination to achieve the optimum cross-country time at Barbury.
Nicola Wilson was another relieved rider, leading CIC3* section B from start to finish on the super-talented but sensitive Bulana. The feisty black mare, on whom the Yorkshire rider won team gold and individual bronze medals at the European Championships last year, has had an interrupted season, due to a wet spring and Nicola’s knee injury, and the lack of work hasn’t played to her temperament.
“I felt we were at sixes and sevens and my main aim this weekend was to get our partnership back on track, but she has been great in all three phases and feels back to her best,” explained Nicola.
Second place in such distinguished company was a great result for young Richard Coney from Lincolnshire riding his own Kananarskis, who is only 15.1hh, and in third place was the in-form Gemma Tattersall on ERM chairman Chris Stone’s Chilli Knight, by the 2015 Badminton winner Chilli Morning.
This concluded the 13th running of St James’s Place Barbury, conducted in searing heat. Despite the very dry conditions, riders praised the extremely hard work of the organisers and the ground care team to produce the best possible footing for the horses.
“Other events should take note of what they have done here,” said ERM winner Tom Carlile.
The Berkeley Hunt South branch of the Pony Club won the 90cm Pony Club team showjumping, and the VWH Owls took the 100cm Pony Club team competition.
Event Director Martyn Johnson said: “It’s been a truly fantastic four days of great horse sport at Barbury. Tom Carlile’s achievement in winning the Event Rider Masters class for the second year in a row is superb, and Nicola Wilson and Bulana were very popular winners of the St James’s Place CIC3*. Thank you very much to all our sponsors, and to Barbury’s owner Chris Woodhouse for allowing us to stage a brilliant event. And thank you to the extremely hard-working Barbury team, especially our volunteers, who have put in long hours in blazing sunshine to make the week such a success.”