Another day, another dollar and Team Price rocked up at Gatcombe around 9.30 am with a full crew..Charlie Millegan, Gemma, Tayla and Otis’s nanny Harriet, Tim, Jonelle, Otis and Jonelle’s mum Leslie Richards, Beanie Davidson on a rare day off and Rebecca Howard as well as lots of other supporters that turned up over the day.
The showjumping at Gatcombe is always a proper shake up of the leaderboard and with the small and steep collecting ring, the undulating arena and the spectators that line the arena 6 deep its always a really atmospheric gig. Jonelle and Classic Moet (Molly) are no strangers to atmosphere and Molly was certainly delighted to be back in the big time but just one rail and 4 faults looked to prove costly with a plummet down the order. Jonelle was philosophical and said she was still going to run quick as the ground was great and Molly really does need a proper pre Burghley run!
Xavier Faer ( Hugo) is, as regular readers know, actually Faerie Groundhog Day and since the travelling Liverpool/water tray that Tim had gained permission to have in the warm up hadn’t arrived we utilised our connections and stole Tim McEwen’s one from his arena which is actually at Gatcombe. Tim drove down the drive and collected it, Hugo duly jumped it a few times at roughly 90 cms and job done. Hugo then jumped a super clear which included a very smooth jump over the water tray and we extend our thanks to the McEwen family as Bobby then forced it into his very full vet car to take back!
So a long old wait for the XC and we had a group hang out in the main drag where food and drink were consumed, Otis made off at a rapid rate into the middle distance repeatedly and there was allot of meet and greets which was both fun and sociable.. having just the one horse each makes this possible!
Out in the Park Bowl there was a massive crowd and we joined them to watch the last third of the track which utilised the steep terrain to the maximum. Up and down and around they went…. and with Molly and Jonelle third out we watched as they simply ate up the ground and the track with a foot perfect exhibition of how to ride the British Open at Gatcombe. 4 time saw them the fastest of the day but there were some 13 combinations to follow so we sat back and waited for Tim and Hugo.
As Tim and Hugo came flying into our view we got a tremendous few minutes of watching a top class combination tackling the track at speed and with scope and a huge stride. Unbeknown to us, as we had limited live coverage from the loudspeakers, Tim and Hugo had stacked up a hugley expensive 60 jumping faults with two run outs at the corner of doom that was Hugo’s at Gatcombe two years ago. Two lessons have been learnt.. one, Hugo got to jump it the third time which was vital and secondly, clearly Hugo does remember and turned into Marley who never, ever forgets! But the way he tackled the track after that showed he is just a bloke on a learning curve and Tim will have him primed for Burghley as always. Hugo just takes a slightly different route to the usual established 5 star horses.. it s slightly rockier road but the outcome is always amazing!
Then as the last two set out suddenly we were hearing that Jonelle was still in the lead and as we had heard nothing of that it was pretty exciting! As one had a long route and one had a run out we realised that Jonelle and Molly had won!
I mean just go Molly. She wins Badminton, goes to WEG, has literally done Burnham Market and Aston Le Walls this year but she has been second at the British Open before and she had unfinished business and today she sorted that. She won fair and square with her amazing cross country speed and agility and with a great pilot on board. Hats off to a genuine equine superstar and her phenomenal jockey who are simply the greatest team on earth right now.
And the Gatcombe video should be live tomorrow!