Reybridge Eventing travelled to Portugal with three horses for David Doel to ride.
Billy Pastime owned by Miss Gillian Jonas entered in the 1*, and Principal Espoir owned by Mr Ian James and Reybridge Eventing, and Chap owned by Miss Gillian Jonas both entered in the 2*.
The entry was as usual of a high calibre with Dutch Olympic team rider Elaine Penn with 6 horses, American Liz Halliday-Sharp who has parked her motor racing career to concentrate on selection for the 2016 Olympics, she had her 2013 Barocca winning horse Fernhill by Night and two other 3* horses. From Belgium Joris Vanspringel and the Fernhill Stud lead by Irish rider Frazer Duffy also had 6 horses. Local 4* riders Carlos Grave and Francisco Seabra would provide good competition for the International entry.
The weather for the week proved to be warm and sunny which was a great relief from the wet and cold of northern Europe.
The 1* dressage was lead by Elaine Penn on Dostowjeski with a score of 36.3, next up was Ann-Christian Baars (GER) with 42.2. David finishing the dressage phase on 46.2 in 5th place.
The cross country phase built by Eric Winter proved a challenge to get in within the time. Only two horses doing so, Elaine Pen and Joris Vanspringel. David Doel collected just 2 time penalties, which moved him up from 5th to 4th. Lying in second overnight was Liz Halliday-Sharpe on 46.6, and Joris on 48.1 with David on 48.2. Nick Burd also representing Great Britain retired both his horses after the cross country phase.
The show jumping phase was a race for 2nd, 3rd and fourth places, as Elaine Penn (ND) on Dostowjeski was out in front on 36.3 and Fraser Duffy withdrew Fernhill Casano after the cross country, and Liz Halliday-Sharpe slipping from 2nd place, moving Joris Vanspringel on Fyona VD Holtakkers to second place, and David Doel riding Billy Pastime to third place.
The 2* competition proved what a good combination Fernhill by Night and Liz Halliday-Sharp are with them recording the top dressage score of 41.1. Fraser Duffy on Fernhill Revelation a close second on 41.4. David Doel was able to come home in 6th and 8th place on Principal Espoir and Chap respectively.
Going into the cross country phase it became apparent that the riders were going to find it difficult to make the time, and as such rewarded the bold and the brave. David Doel on his two horses was the fastest, only recording 1.2 and 1.6 time penalties for Principal Espoir and Chap, moving them up the leader board to 4th and 5th with the show jumping to come.
The show jumping was at height of 1.20m, with and upright of 1.70m in the course. It was very tight at the top with top four riders only four points apart. David Doel rode Chap out of order and had one pole down, however all behind him incurred penalties, and when David’s other ride Principal Espoir slipped down the order he inherited the 4th place. Fraser Duffy riding Fernhill Revelation had one pole down and dropped to third from second. Elaine Penn riding Vira had another clear round to secure second place. Liz Halliday Sharp had to go clear to win the Harley Davidson motorcycle. Both Liz and Fernhill by Night held it together and went clear. The motorcycle will travel home to the UK for her husband who has a Ducati motorcycle.
The orgasnisation, the weather, and the hospitality put on by the team at Vale Sabroso is one of the best in Europe, ten out of ten for the event and the organising team. The show rolls on to Barocca d’Alva next week.
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