A busy, successful week of Eventing ended on a high for dual-sportswoman Liz Halliday, as she and her young horse Donovan claimed their first British Eventing victory at the Eridge Horse Trials.
The New Zealand-bred horse scored his maiden win with a superb performance at the One Day Event on Sunday which saw him triumph in the Novice category. A fine opening Dressage test saw Donovan and Halliday placed second overall and they backed up that early promise with clear rounds in both the Cross Country and Show Jumping sections to take victory. Donovan’s win came just four days after another fine display in Wednesday’s Stonar School One Day Event which saw him placed fifth in the Novice category and highlighted his continuing promise.
“I’m delighted with the rapid progress he is making,” said Halliday. “It was a first win for both of us in British Eventing, and more importantly it showed his huge potential. Eridge was a tricky course, but he tried very hard and showed his class. I might look to do an international CIC* and CCI* with him later in the year, but there’s no point in rushing him too much as he’s still very young and I want to make sure he is well established at novice level before moving on.”
Halliday also ran Oscar at the Rolleston horse trials on Saturday in his first full Advanced level competition, and was equally as pleased with his eighth placed finish. He was second after Dressage, and jumped a double clear on the Cross Country and Show Jumping tests which helped him to finish with the strong top 10 result.
“A lot of horses had rails down in the show jumping, so the fact that he was clear was really encouraging” said Liz. “I withdrew him from his last Advanced event as he wasn’t himself and had many rails down, so this was a huge step forward. As long as we keep working hard, I think that his results will only improve.”
The previous weekend saw Halliday in action at Salperton Park with runs for Fox(Advanced-Intermediate) and Oscar (Intermediate). Fresh from her stint commentating for Eurosport at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Liz returned to the eventing arena with strong runs for both horses, leaving them well prepared for their up-coming bigger events.
Next on the agenda this weekend is the Barbury Castle Horse Trials where both Fox and Donovan will compete. Fox is entered into the highly contended International CIC*** category, with Donovan entered in the Novice section.
“It’s a big run for Fox because most of the Olympic team horses will be there before they head to Hong Kong for the games this summer, and there will be some very stiff competition. I’m looking forward to it as it will be my first time competing at Barbury, and I think that it will be a great run for both of us at this point in the season. Fox is in good form and I am sure that he is up for it!”
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insidethegames.com, by Nick Butler