DEBUT SAM GRIFFITHS BEATS TOWNEND TO WIN FINAL 2011 EXPRESS EVENTING QUALIFIER  - 07 August 2011

Australian rider Sam Griffiths jumped his way to victory in a spectacular final qualifier for the Express Eventing Series 2011 at The Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park this afternoon.

Sam Griffiths takes home £3,000 in prize money after his Express Eventing debut as well as qualifying for the Express Eventing Final at the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham’s LG Arena on 4th October 2011. Joining him after winning a qualifying place in the Final is Sienna Myson-Davies as the highest placed Young Rider. Oliver Townend came a close second to Griffiths with just 0.8 penalty points separating the two. Townend had an incredibly busy weekend at The Festival of British Eventing running nine horses in total and Griffiths ran three.

Sam Griffiths rode a breathtaking freestyle dressage to music test on Saturday evening which left the huge crowd of spectators stunned. Artistic Judge, Amanda Birch of Amanda Birch Dressage Writing commented “Spectators here have truly witnessed something very special’. Griffiths lead from the outset and was closely followed by Olympian Alex Hua Tian on legendary stallion Grafenstolz until the showjumping phase. Griffiths produced the lowest dressage score of the entire Express Eventing Series 2011 qualifiers, being awarded a 7.9. He then jumped clear in his Cross Country phase seeing him leading into the final show jumping phase. The show jumping proved tricky for some with only two clear rounds, and Griffiths had two poles down meaning that he had to jump and clear the eraser fence (which is optional but if cleared knocks 4 points of the total score) which he did with ease, clinching him the top spot.

A delighted Griffiths said of the event: "I have loved every minute of this competition, it’s been very exciting and winning has topped it off. I think it’s a great concept and one that really suited my horse, it has been my first time competing today and I wish I’d done the others [previous 3 qualifiers]”

As Myson-Davies was the highest placed Young Rider, she was entitled to a place in the Express Eventing Final.

From four qualifiers, there are eight qualified riders including Matthew Wright, Fiona Hobby, Harry Meade, Sam Griffiths, Paul Sims, William Murray, Alex Hua Tian and Sienna Myson-Davies all will ride at the Express Eventing Final at Horse of the Year Show on Tuesday 4th October. These riders will be joined by eight runners up, which are yet to be announced.

Stephen Renouard, Express Eventing Equestrian Director, said:

“We are really pleased with how the competition ran today, we have had an incredibly strong field of competitors here at the Festival of British Eventing and all have enjoyed the event. It was a very exciting and nail biting finish for the 2011 Express Eventing Series and well received by the audience here at the Festival.

“Having now concluded the final qualifier for this 2011 series we will soon be in a position announce the full line-up for the Express Eventing 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show in October.”

For footage of today's qualifier and the previous qualifiers at Bolesworth, Lincolnshire and the CLA Game Fair, please visit www.expresseventing.co.uk

Final results:

1st – Sam Griffiths on Real Dancer – 11.9

2nd – Oliver Townend on Neo Du Breuil – 12.7

3rd – Matthew Wright on If You Want II – 13.8

4th – Alex Hua Tian on Grafenstolz – 19.3

5th – Sienna Myson-Davies on Tambourine – 27.5

6th – Georgie Spence on WII Limbo – 27.9

7th – Rachael Lupton on The Chenko Artist – 30.15

8th – Nicola Baguley on Millie on Air – 30.65

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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