Pippa Funnell enjoys flying start to 2013 British eventing season

The 2013 British eventing season was kicked off in East Anglian style when princesses, knights and Olympians graced the Isleham Horse trials in Cambridgeshire last weekend.

The Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips, the recently knighted Sir Mark Todd, and local born rider Piggy French were just a few high class names on the scoreboard.

It was a great start to the year for Grand Slam winner Pippa Funnell with a win in the open Intermediate section on Mirage D'Elle, with French taking the runner-up position.

After the disappointment of missing out on the Olympics last summer French said: 'I'm just looking to enjoy this season, we've had a great two days at Isleham and it's great to get the horses back on the grass.'

It was a disappointing start for Zara Phillips, who after a brilliant dressage of 27.3, was eliminated at the ditch complex on the cross country course, on Silver Lining V.


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The course, built by Phillip and Guy Herbert, caught out even the best – Sir Mark Todd picked up 20 penalties on the cross country course on NZB Regent Lad.

Norfolk rider Jane Anderson, on Jims Patch, was victorious in BE90 section E, on a superb dressage score of 29.

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The eight-year-old was brought over from Ireland by Susan Cox, and Anderson said: 'I've worked hard over the winter and with help from Terry Boon and Debra White it has really paid off.'

She hopes to qualify for the Badminton grassroots championships this year, and afterwards hopes her daughter will take over the ride.

With the high intake of entries, organisers were forced to have another BE90 section on the Sunday. Winner of the class was Lisa Clarke-Spence from Colchester on her homebred Fidget. With the regular help of Anna Wilks in Exning, they achieved an exceptional dressage score of 24 and hope to go novice this year. In BE100 open section D, Madeleine Taylor from Ipswich on Billy Black Jack took the honours without adding anything to a brilliant dressage of 27.

Clem Tompsett and his family run the event, with all profits going to the East Anglian Air Ambulance fund.

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