Equestrianism: Townend earns bumper prize by storming to decisive win
Monday 01 December 2008
Oliver Townend ran away with the plum prize of £100,000 when he won yesterday's inaugural Express Eventing International Cup on Flint Curtis, defeating Lucy Wiegersma on Shaabrak by an astonishing 42 seconds. William Fox-Pitt filled third place on Ballincoola.
However, instead of the anticipated climax, there was a sad finale when Mary King's Olympic mount Call Again Cavalier left the arena by horse ambulance.
Lying second after the dressage (and therefore second last to go in the combined show jumping and cross-country phase) Call Again Cavalier fell at a double of corners towards the end of the cross-country course. He was taken away for inspection, accompanied by the senior vet.
With show jumping and cross-country fences spread across the Millennium Stadium, the courses proved unusually confusing for the riders and only six of the 19 starters reached the end of their journeys. The remainder – among them the dressage leaders, Germany's Bettina Hoy and Springwood Cockatoo – were eliminated as a result of taking the wrong course, for falling or for three refusals.
Organiser Stuart Buntine, who had created the new competition, agreed that the fall-out rate was disappointing. "Riders aren't used to fences coming up so quickly," he said.
Even Townend, who stormed round on Flint Curtis, momentarily lost his way. "I was galloping at fence four backward," he said with a wry grin. Having gone faster than he had ever gone before, he was naturally hoping to retain his lead and collect the enticing prize."God knows I could do with the money," he said.
Wiegersma, who has also been runner-up at Badminton this year – "I'm good at coming second," she said – felt that the experience of riding dressage to music in the first phase had been particularly rewarding.
Like Townend and Wiegersma, Fox-Pitt also had praise for the organisers who had erected the cross-country course overnight after Saturday's international rugby. Fox-Pitt had a couple of hairy moments but praised his horse: "Ballincoola proved that he's a great, old pro by jumping those fences, but I definitely didn't deserve to win."
Express Eventing International Cup (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff): 1 Flint Curtis (O Townend, GB) 4min 25.01sec; 2 Shaabrak (L Wiegersma, GB) 5:07.99; 3 Ballincoola (W Fox-Pitt, GB) 5:10.72; 4 Ben Along Time(C Fredericks, Aus) 5;20.02; 5 Rock Model (V Panizzon, It) 5:37.08; 6 Lenamore (C Powell, NZ) 6:47.25.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal are so close to winning the Premier League, but sometimes Arsene Wenger holds them back, says Jamie Carragher
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
Real Madrid vs Juventus preview: Juventus know they must attack to match past European glory
Two new members of Floyd Mayweather's The Money Team blag their way into entourage to celebrate to celebrate with Justin Bieber
- 2 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 3 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 4 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...