David Doel wins 1* Harley Davidson Classic Event

David Doel travelled to Portugal with three horses representing Great Britain. The first event of the Portuguese eventing series was Vale Sabroso where he won the 1* star competition just ahead of Althea Bleekman representing the Netherlands, and Duarte Seabra from the host nation Portugal.

David was second after the dressage riding Ricoshea owned by Gillian Jonas on a score of 45.3 behind French rider Christine Moulis Lebecq, a costly show jumping pole dropped her to second overnight on 45.9, and with Althea Bleekman riding Anmarsh on 49.4, however a one second time penalty in the show jumping was also to prove deciding at the end of the competition.

The cross country course built and designed by Eric Winter was a fair test for both riders and horses, but the time was to prove difficult to achieve with only Fraser Duffy from Great Britain coming in within in the time to beat his boss Carol Gee from Ireland into 4th place riding Fernhill Revelation.

David went clear to win stopping the clock with just 2.8 time penalties with a score of 48.1, Althea proved that she could also go cross country quickly stopping the clock in the fourth quickest time recording just 2.4 time penalties,
coming second to David by just .9 of a mark with 49.0. Duarte also put the pedal to the metal to come in third place with 50.2.

The 2* competition was headed by the experienced French rider Christine Moulis Lebecq riding Orleanor des Isles with a score 46.1, with David Doel a close second riding Koyuna Sun Magic on 46.4 and the experienced Portuguese rider Carlos Grave riding Samaritano on a score of 46.7. David’s second ride Kings Cross was handily placed in 4th place overnight.

The show jumping was to prove costly and testing for all the riders as overnight rain made the surface very heavy in places, and only 6 riders managed a clear round, however both Portuguese riders Carlos Grave and Duarte Seabra going clear with Carlos taking over the number one position, and Duarte moving into 4th place. One of the few clear rounds came from the Irish Junior rider Caroline Marwood riding Jazzin Along, in her first 2* event she went into the cross country phase handily placed in 2nd place. David’s two horses slipped to 5th and 11th respectively after both having 2 poles down.

Cross country day was warm and sunny and the again the time would be a deciding factor in this last phase, only Carlos Grave had a fence in hand, from second placed Caroline Marwood, and the rest of the field were all bunched up with three marks covering the next nine riders.

With six nations in the top ten, national honours were at stake, and the local fans of Carlos Grave were hoping for a home win. Eric Winter’s course mixed the technical and the bold fences to provide riders and spectators with an exciting final phase.

Both Carlos Grave and Duarte Seabra went round in the time and clear, Nick Burd who was running the commentary team remarked that had Caroline Marwood’s horse been a few centimetres bigger she also would have finished in the time, such was her speed across the ground, she eventually finished in 5 th place, a great achievement for her first international 2 star event. David Doel climbed back up the leader board with a podium finish in 3rd place with Koyna Sun Magic, and fourth with the ever-reliable Kings Cross, his 2011 European
team gold medal winning horse.

The organization was first class, and the facilities at this event are second to none, owners, riders and spectators were given fantastic hospitality and warm sunny weather, this must be one of the best kept secrets in the eventing world. A great way to start the 2013 season.

All the teams now move to Barrocca for the next round of this series.

Ian James
26th February 2013

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