BARBURY HORSE TRIALS: Anniversary trials a real success story

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The winning jockeys’ team pass on the baton during the JCB Champions Challenge (Picture: Diane Vose) The winning jockeys’ team pass on the baton during the JCB Champions Challenge (Picture: Diane Vose)

BARBURY Estate owner Nigel Bunter is hoping that the Trials’ tenth birthday will live long in the memory.

As well as Marlborough’s New Zealand international star Andrew Nicholson completing a hat-trick of CIC three-star titles on Avebury, a team of top-class jockeys triumphed in the JCB Champions Challenge whilst Laura Collett and legendary ex-racehorse Kauto Star, as well as para-dressage rider Ed Chanin put on displays in the main arena, all in aid of the IJF (Injured Jockeys’ Fund).

“A lot of people that I’ve spoke to have said that it was the best Barbury ever. We were lucky to have some great weather and I haven’t gone through the numbers yet but we definitely had our biggest-ever crowds on the Saturday and Sunday,” said Bunter.

Jump jockeys past and present claimed victory in the JCB Champions Challenge held during the Barbury Trials on Saturday With Noel Fehily taking over team captaincy duties from the injured AP McCoy, his team came out on top against three other teams.

Seven-time champion jockey John Francome – now president of the IJF – rising star Sam Twiston-Davies and Richard Johnson – the second most successful jockey in jumps history behind McCoy, who was watching the event, completed the line-up.

The jockeys edged out the VWH Bathurst Hunt team, with the eventers team of Zara Phillips, William Fox-Pitt, Sir Mark Todd and Laura Collett third.

“I wasn’t expecting the Champions Challenge to be so competitive but the jockeys really went for it in the final against the VWH (Vale of the White Horse) riders of the hunt,’’ added Bunter.

“AP McCoy was injured but still came along and Noel Fehily only went off and competed again for the first time since an injury on Sunday.

“Laura Collett brought Kauto Star along again and Ed put on a beautiful dressage display – it was quite moving because he was injured quite severely and has shown a lot of bravery to get to where he has.

“The IJF is very close to our hearts and it was important to help raise money for it.’’

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