The March Stud scored in the Dubarry Burghley young event horse final for four-year-olds this afternoon (2 September) at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials when home-bred Cupid March took the top spot.
The stallion is by Clarksville – a Holsteiner grandson of the great Olympic showjumper Casall ASK – out of a mare called Valentina II (by Corofino I), who Richard Jones evented at five-star level.
Piloted by Piggy March and owned by Jane March, Susannah Paybody, Susie Wood and March Stud Limited, the 16.2hh bay was second – by one penalty – coming into the final showdown in front of Mark Phillips. He scored 24 out of 30 for his dressage (judged by Angela Tucker and Judy Harvey), 37.3 out of 40 for his jumping (judged by Yogi Breisner and Helen West) and 17 out of 20 for suitability and potential (judged by Andrew Spalding).
Cupid March was pulled in third by Mark Phillips, gaining one place higher and one more point than Ros Canter’s ride Cooley Cloverland, who had led coming into the final. This meant the top pair were tied on equal scores, but Cupid March took the laurels by virtue of his higher jumping score, which is used as a tie-breaker.
“The stud is my husband Tom’s idea and his investment and I just nod and sometimes get on at the right time,” said Piggy. “I did say I wasn’t doing this one because I have no experience with stallions, but he’s been such a sweet horse to do and he’s a beautiful horse to ride.”
Piggy evented Cupid March’s half-brother, Highdown March, and when Tom was starting breeding, Richard was giving it up so he offered Valentina to Tom. Cupid March is her first offspring for the March Stud, with a three-year-old mare by the Dutch warmblood Van Gogh to follow.
“He’s a bit different to most of what we breed in that his mother obviously evented herself, although she was jumping bred, and most of our breeding is targeted to jumping rather than eventing,” said Tom.
“You look at his pedigree and you’d probably think he’s a jumper more than he is an event horse, but he’s a beautiful mover, very elastic, a lovely jumper with a lovely temperament and character to work with.
“It’s nice to have a horse you think can transfer between the disciplines and do a bit of everything. You see it more and more at the higher levels of eventing, horses coming through with jumping breeding – such as London 52 or JL Dublin – who were planned to be jumpers, but it’s having a horse that has the ride-ability and all the rest of it so they can be event horses as well.”
Tom said that Cupid March is “definitely a boy but has been no hassle to handle”, so they have never felt he should be castrated.
The runner-up in the Burghley young event horse final for four-year-olds, Cooley Cloverland, is owned by Kate Walls and is by Cavalier Land, who also sired Kate’s five-star horse Cooley Lands, who was third at Badminton Horse Trials under Chris Burton.
Maximum marks in the final section propelled Susie Wood’s Zingi, ridden by Ireland’s Susie Berry, up the leaderboard into third. He is by Take It 2 The Limit, who evented up to current four-star level himself.
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