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EQUESTRIAN: Aoife is Blenheim winner
6:46pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Sport
Middle Barton's Irish Olympian Aoife Clark held her nerve under intense pressure to win the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials on Sunday.
Clark posted a clear showjumping round from closest challengers Jean Teulere and Clark Montgomery.
Teulere and Montgomery both finished on their cross-country scores of 45.5 penalties, meaning Clark could not afford a mistake aboard nine-year-old chestnut mare Fenyas Elegance.
And Clark did not disappoint, remaining on 44.0 penalties to take the £8,000 winner’s purse and a title that numbers world No 1 Andrew Nicholson among its former holders.
Clark, who rode Master Crusoe to seventh place at London 2012, conquered Blenheim just two hours after the Irish eventing team were crowned European junior champions in France.
“I knew I had to go clear,” Clark said. “We’ve only had one show-jumping rail down all year, but there was still pressure.
“To win here means a huge amount. This mare is just at the right stage to be looking at the (2014) World Equestrian Games and then Rio.”
Clark added: “The horse was such a star this week.
“We knew she was in great form and peaking, but I couldn’t have asked for any more from her.”
Owen Moore, who is based at Lyneham, near Chipping Norton, finished 26th on Perfect Stranger.