Gold Nugget takes the spoils at Gatcombe Park

  • Thrilling finale to RoR NTF Eventing Championship
  • First year at Gatcombe is hailed a success

The first staging at Gatcombe Park of the RoR NTF Retrained Racehorse Eventing Championship concluded on Sunday producing a thrilling finish and an exciting winner in the form of Gold Nugget, ridden by Andrew Downes, who took first prize with a final score of 34.7 penalties.

In second place, just 0.1 of a penalty point behind, was Dream Big, ridden by Tom McEwen. Highlighting the quality and strength of the class, third place was filled by the 2017 winner, Zippi Jazzman, ridden by Izzy Taylor, and in fourth was Summon Up The Blood and Carlos Parro, who had performed with such distinction when representing Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This year was the first time the National Trainers’ Federation sponsored final had been held at Gatcombe Park, forming part of the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal joined trainer Richard Phillips, representing the NTF, on the podium to make the presentation to the winning owner and rider, which included a cheque for £2,000.

Owner Jane Moss has watched rider Andrew Downes nurture Gold Nugget as the pair have progressed through the ranks. Crowned RoR Elite Eventing Champion of 2017, Gold Nugget, has this year graduated to Advanced level.

A year younger and also very promising is the runner-up, the seven-year-old mare and aptly named, Dream Big. Formerly trained by Jo Crowley and then Tim Vaughan, Dream Big was chasing shadows on the racecourse when finishing down the field to Romsdal and Big Orange in a maiden at Kempton. However, the daughter of Echo Of Light clearly has a bright future in eventing and was only denied victory at Gatcombe by the narrowest margin.

First staged in 2003, the RoR Eventing Championship is an Intermediate Novice Class open to thoroughbreds who have raced in Great Britain. The NTF sponsored championship has a prize fund of £6,000 and a first prize of £2,000.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, added: “We are thrilled with how the class went both in terms of the calibre of the horses attracted and the transfer of the event to Gatcombe where it formed an integral part of the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing.”