This prestigious class, which has been won by the likes of Scott Brash and Jessica Mendoza, gets stronger every year, the bulk of the field being represented by the talented sons and daughters of such well-known horsemen such as Michael Whitaker, Graham Fletcher, Mike Saywell, Duncan Inglis, Peter Charles, the late Tim Stockdale and Badminton Horse Trials course-designer Eric Winter.
Robert, the son of former leading jumper Peter Murphy, set a scorching pace, confidently taking out strides and turning on a sixpence, to snatch the win from Harry by 0.5 seconds.
“There were a few options, but you had to take risks – I tried to mimic Harry’s round,” explained Robert, who was presented with the Tim Stockdale Trophy in memory of the much-loved rider who died last month.
Last year, Newbridges Chablis hit three fences, but Robert, whose aim for 2019 is to get into the Young Rider team, explained: “He’s quite a sensitive horse and he didn’t settle well in the stable, but he’s had some more mileage since then and things were quite different this time.”
Eight riders went through to the jump-off. Jodie Hall McAteer’s spirited challenge on Fantom, clear in 31.1 seconds, was good enough for third place behind Charles, whose brilliant year continues.