MATTHEW WRIGHT TAKES THIRD EXPRESS EVENTING WIN WITH ALEX HUA TIAN AND HARRY MEADE QUALIFYING FOR HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW - 18 July 2011
Matthew Wright jumped his way to victory in an exciting, down to the wire finish at the third Express Eventing Qualifier at The CLA Game Fair.
Matthew picked up £3,000 in prize money and runner-up Alex Hua Tian and 3rd placed Harry Meade have secured their place in the Express Eventing FInal at the Horse of the Year Show at the LG Arena on 4th October 2011. After a non-qualifying run at Bolesworth, Alex was determined this time to secure a place in the Express Eventing Final and battle it out for the lion’s share of the £40,000 prize pot.
Leading throughout the day, Matthew rode Sir John Peace's horse, If You Want II, to victory in a nail biting finish in front of crowds. Matthew’s dressage score of only 21.00 penalties was to be the score that he would finish on - but not without a little bit of drama along the way.
Following a testing cross country phase, the leader board shuffled around and Young Rider Alex found himself only 4 penalties behind Matthew going into the show jumping. With only a fence separating the two, it was always Alex's intention to jump the final eraser fence in order to put him on a par with Matthew and keep the pressure on. The eraser fence gives the riders the opportunity to knock off 4 penalties from their score going into the show jumping.
Unfortunately, Alex had the second fence down, but cleared the eraser fence to keep him on his original score of 25.00 penalties, keeping just a fence between him and Matthew. With Matthew needing to produce a clear round so that he didn't need to jump the eraser fence, Matthew and If You Want II jumped the first half of the course effortlessly, but then knocked a pole out on the oxer fence, meaning that he then had to clear the eraser fence - which he duly did.
A delighted Matthew said of his win: "I'm obviously thrilled to have won the third Express Eventing qualifier, it's a great competition and it's always good for the crowd when a competition goes down to the wire.
"I'm very much looking forward to Gatcombe on 6th-7th August, the prize money is second to none in the Express Eventing Series, and fingers crossed that you'll see me with that winner's cheque again at the fourth qualifier."
As Alex was the highest placed Young Rider, he was entitled to a place in the Express Eventing Final. Harry Meade was the highest placed over twenty-five year old and secured a qualification to the Horse of the Year Show final.
Athletes will have one more chance to qualify for the Express Eventing 2011 Final at the fourth and last 2011 Express Eventing Qualifier at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on 6th and 7th August.
Stephen Renouard, Express Eventing Equestrian Director, said:
“This was another exciting finish for the 2011 Express Eventing Series. The crowd certainly enjoyed the spectacle. I am delighted that the first equestrian event at the CLA Game Fair has gone so well: the Senior and Young riders alike have all said how much they enjoyed the event.
“With our fourth and final qualifier at The Festival of British Eventing in a couple of weeks’ time, we are very nearly in a position to announce the full line-up for the Express Eventing 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show in October.”
David Eckersby of the Country Land & Business Association said of the Qualifier: “I think that having the Express Eventing Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair has been a phenomenal success. It attracted large crowds and brought eventing to a new audience; we’ll certainly be talking about hosting the competition again next year”.
For footage of today's qualifier and the previous qualifiers at Bolesworth and Lincolnshire, please visit www.expresseventing.co.uk
1st - Matthew Wright on If You Want II - 21.00
2nd - Alex Hua Tian on Grafenstolz - 25.00
3rd - Harry Meade on Tinka's Time - 29.50
4th - Mark Todd on NZB Campino - 37.75
5th - Rachael Lupton on Chenko Artist - 44.50
6th - Fiona Hobby on Smart Approach - 40.5
7th - Georgie Strang on Master Monarch - 65.50
8th - James Hale on Diamond News - 91.25
For more information on Express Eventing Series 2011, please visit our website at www.expresseventing.co.uk or join our Facebook page www.facebook.com/expresseventing
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