Andrea Clark and Murphy’s Bonanza triumphed in a thrilling finale in The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, a National Restricted Novice Championship at The Festival of British Eventing, presented by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).
Thirteenth after dressage, a rare clear in the influential show jumping phase elevated the pair to joint first going into the cross country, and when their nearest rivals – dressage leaders Rebecca Woolley and Zeno Das Gluck – failed to complete Captain Mark Phillips’s track, Andrea’s penalty-free round ensured she took the mantle.
“We took an absolute flyer over the wall at fence five and my hat fell down over my eyes, so the next few jumps were a bit of a blur,” admitted the 44-year-old from Doncaster, who works full time as a manager for a mobile crane operator. “I had hoped for a double clear, so to win is incredible.”
Andrea was particularly pleased with her clear round in the show jumping.
“The Course Designer, Di Boddy, is local to me so I have jumped quite a few of her courses. I knew to expect a twisty, up-to-height track, so I was prepared for that.”
Only two penalties separated the top seven going into the final phase, so a fast clear was essential to feature in the final reckoning.
Yvie Jeanne and Oh Star II Z finished tantalisingly close in second place, just 0.3 of a penalty behind the winners.
This was a career best result for the West Sussex-based rider, who has been racking up placings this season, including a third at Eridge Horse Trials last time out.
Emma Corner completed the podium line up in third with Iamwotiam, one of her two rides in this class.
“To be honest, I was expecting my younger horse [Edmonton ELS] to go the better of the two as this one’s quite cheeky, but he stepped up to the plate,” said Emma, who works as a secretary for an equine veterinary surgery in Yorkshire. “Competing here has been the most amazing experience. As I rode into the show jumping arena I cantered down the long side and took in the atmosphere – then I took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on my round.”