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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Middleton all smiles after 24-year gap between wins

ABOVE: David Middleton flanked by Donna Edwards-Smith (left) and Olivia Barton. Picture: TY MANNING

THE 2024 Adelaide Equestrian Festival has again lived up to the hype, with record-breaking crowds and some of the finest displays of horsemanship in the country on show.

Held in the South Australian capital’s beautiful parklands, Australia’s only five-star horse trials is always one of the most anticipated equestrian events of the year.

David Middleton had an event to remember, winning the International CCI5* on his homebred WEC In The Money after winning the event at Gawler 24 years ago.

The win in 2000 on Willowbank Jack gained him a place on the Australian eventing team for the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain where they finished 11th individually and was the highest placed Australian rider.

Olivia Barton, who at 24 was born in the year Middleton won at Gawler, went into the final phase in the lead, but four rails down and an added 1.6 time penalties dropped her to second place in her first ever five-star start with Hollyander HG.

Leading Kiwi event rider Donna Edwards-Smith and DSE Mendoza were third.

ABOVE: Winner’s grin – David Middleton and WEC In The Money. Picture: TY MANNING
ABOVE: David Middleton and WEC In The Money on the cross country course. Picture: TARA MANNING
ABOVE: Olivia Barton on PH Sodoku on the way to winning the three-star. Picture: TY MANNING

Barton might have been a little disappointed after the five-star but none-the-less she had a winning event, taking out the three-star class on PH Sodoku.

She also won the Anna Savage Award, which is presented each year to commemorate the tragic death of the eventing rider who died in a fall during the cross-country phase of the Naracoorte Horse Trials in 1997. At the time Anna was listed on the Elite Eventing Squad and was working towards Olympic selection for Sydney 2000.

Points are awarded to competitors in the CCI 3* and 4* classes at the three CCI events in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney for competitive excellence, horsemanship and sportsmanship.

As well as Barton, the three-star class had a great field of young riders with Olivia Shore on Dreamcatcher and Gemma Tinney with PHS Hilton second and third.

Shenae Lowings and Bold Venture seem to have Adelaide as their happy hunting ground, winning the CCI4*-S for the second year in a row with a couple of rails in hand from Andrew Cooper with Pepperjack and Oliver Barrett riding Sandhill Special.

Bold Venture, who raced as Hell On Wheels, has had a remarkable career with his rider who paid just $1000 for him as a six-year-old six years ago.

The combination is now qualified for the Olympics.

ABOVE: Shenae Lowings and Bold Venture had another great event. Picture: TY MANNING
ABOVE: Millie Treloar having a ball on Sandon Grove Raphiel. Picture: TY MANNING
ABOVE: Charlotte Edwards and Just De Manzana placed 6th in the five-star. Picture: TY MANNING

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