The conclusion of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials dressage saw Pippa Funnell take the top spot, with MGH Grafton Street, ahead of favourites Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class.
Pippa Funnell needs little introduction - a legend and icon in our sport, the first winner of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, the only female winner of the Gram Slam, winner here in 2003 and the 2018 inductee into the ERA Burghley Hall of Fame.
Funnell united the ground jury in their opinion to deliver a performance worthy of 22.8. Now all she has to do is negotiate one of the biggest Burghley tracks we've seen for some time.
In the end of day press conference Funnell discussed how MGH Grafton Street can have a tricky (aka naughty) side to him and isn't the more straight forward to ride on cross-country day. Taking advice from her Team GBR team mate and best friend Tina Cook, she'll be kicking on and keeping her eyes on the prize.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class would have been odds on favourite to lead the field after dressage, following some sensational results at this level and number sub 20 scores at 4* and national level. This week they sit in 2nd on 25.3.
Hot off his team success at Luhmuhlen Oliver seems to have been struggling with a back injury this week - a less than ideal situation with what lay ahead. The 2017 winner Ballaghmor Class may have passed the first vets inspection but Oliver would certainly have been sent to the holding box if the rider's soundness was under scrutiny as well. The first class support these riders receive from their own teams, team GBR and the event is outstanding and Oliver's fitness seems to be improving each day.
Powering into third place, a hairs breadth behind Oliver, sits Izzy Taylor and Springpower on 25.6.
Two out of the three ground jury members had Izzy ahead of Oliver, but Nick Burton's (at C) significantly higher score for Oliver has him just ahead.
The pairs relationship being well known caused some humorous moments as talk quickly turned to how Izzy could get the upper hand over Townend ahead of the cross-country - a swift kick to the back ought to do it!
The American contingent were holding their own, with a trio of fearsome dressage divas keeping the British ladies out of a clean sweep.
Hannah-Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot took an early lead on Day 2 with 26.9, much to the debate of dressage trainers and judges around the arena who thought the marking to be somewhat more generous than of day 1.
The lead was short lived as Lauren Keiffer and Vermiculus went head to head with the British weather and won with a score of 26.7.
Liz Halliday-Sharp managed to keep a lid on Deniro Z to move into =7th with 27.4
2019 Badminton winners, and the most successful British rider of the season, Piggy French and Vanir Kamira joins the party in =5th on 26.9, following another constant test.
Day 1 overnight leaders, and Burghley debutants, Eliza Stoddart & Priorspark Opposition Free keeps her name in the top 10 taking =9th on 28.7. She puts a British flag between the only two New Zealand names in the top 10.
It wouldn't be a top 10 without Mr and Mrs Price after all.
Eventing's ultimate power couple have all four riders inside the top 20.
The penultimate leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series takes us to a new country and a brand new location. Join us as we set sail for Irish shores.
We'll be heading for marvellous Millstreet, arguably the jewel in Irish eventing's crown, for a two-day showcase of the fast, the furious, and the finessed. This is the last chance for our series contenders to bank points before we head into the series finale at Lignieres-en-Berry - but who will rise to the occasion, and who's going to buckle under the pressure?
Tucked away in unspoilt Co. Cork, Millstreet International Horse Trials is widely considered a destination event by the best of the best. Watched over by the spectre of Drishane Castle, the tough track marries traditional questions with technical tests - and a win here will require more than just the luck of the Irish.
The stage is set for an epic showdown of guts and gumption. But the first phase of the competition? Making it through #ERMtheCut, in which our field of entrants is whittled down to the final thirty. Thirty of the biggest stars in the sport of eventing. Thirty riders, and thirty horses, who are determined to put on a show you'll never forget. Here's what to expect.
It's crunch-time now, and our ERM competitors will need to ask themselves if they're in it to win it. With just two events left in the 2019 series, they'll need to be - every point counts now, and nobody can afford to let a single opportunity pass them by.
With current series leader Jonelle Price away, the mice - or her leaderboard rivals, at least - will play. Australia's Bill Levett sits just behind her in second place, and with the incredibly experienced Shannondale Titan by his side, he's got one goal in mind: usurp the speed queen and take his rightful place atop the ERM throne.
To do so, though, he'll need to get past her husband. World Number One Tim Pricenever allows his competitors an easy win, particularly when he joins forces with his Arville winner, the indomitable Wesko. Nor, though, does last year's Event Rider Masters champion Chris Burton. Can the fastest man in the world pilot his 2018 Blair Castle winner Graf Liberty to the top spot once again?
It'll be a welcome return to the ERM for 2016 champion Oliver Townend, who spent much of the summer sidelined with an injury. Will young gun Ulises earn him a podium place ahead of his Burghley debut?
There's a strong British contingent on the hunt for points and podium placings, and none stronger than former leg winners Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V and Alex Bragg, who rides Zagreb. They both bring precision and partnership to the table - but can they bring the speed when it counts?
Four of Ireland's finest are amply prepared to fight for the home side. Sam Watson, Sarah Ennis, and Cathal Daniels made up part of the silver medal-winning team at last year's World Championships, but even they could be eclipsed by Esib Power. Tough, determined, and blazingly quick across the country, Esib will be tapping into her racing roots to bypass the competition - and she'll need to, when she comes head-to-head with 2018 Chatsworth winners Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound.
With the best riders in the world - and among them, eight former ERM leg winners - heading up an eight-nation field, the competition is guaranteed to sizzle until its final seconds. There are points, placings, and the better part of £50,000 on the line - and in the Event Rider Masters, it's never over until it's over.
Join us as we start our final countdown. Are you ready?
CCIO4*-S FEI Nations Cup - Normandy Region - Departemental Council of Orne: close finish between Italy and France...but France won at the end
Since the first edition of the FEI Nations Cup at Le Grand Complet in 2017, the French squad has won...3 times. At the end of the suspense, the French, deprived of one of their best pairs (Qamilha, the mare of Thaïs Meheust, having been refused at the inspection on Sunday morning), had to stick together to succeed in winning against a highly motivated Italian team. At the top of the ooverall ranking of the circuit, Italy was keen to strengthen their leadership by winning in the Norman fields.
They met a strong and particularly united French team. Because when Jean Teulère, the first member of the team to start in this last test, went off the course with three poles on the ground, they were really down...and feeling the pressure growing! Because the Italians lined up the good performances, especially Ariana Schivo. "We first wanted to keep our second place and we hoped to go back to the first. It was doable, but very tight. Out team worked quite well, even if some of my team mates had some penalties, it was good" Ariana explained. She finished on a clear round and a 5th place.
When Clara Loiseau, as the second member of the French team to tackle the SJ course, had a pole down, things tightened. There was no other option than a clear round for the last rider to go for the French squad. Being in the lead so far added to suspense.
"When I compete with Punch, I obviously dream of winning but I know that my place is rather 3rd or 3rd. His record speaks for it." Karim Laghouag says. "It’s a great surprise, especially as the team relies on me for the victory. A team medal is really something special to me. To feel that extra pressure helped me. I ‘ve had a few 4 point show jumping results this year with him which is really rare. I’ve been riding him since he’s 4yo, he’s 16 now. I probably needed a bit of pressure to believe in it and do all I could to get that clear round. My wife would say : 'you should ride more the Laghouag way and less as an American. (laughters). I’ve realised that I could ride him with more pressure and get a better result.'"
On top of pocketing the team prize – the third in a row for France in the FEI Nations Cup, Karim Laghouag also won the series in front of two Brits David Doel and Kirsty Johnson, as Thomas Carlile (again!!) finished 4th. He could have won if Atos hadn’t added disappointing 4 penalty points to his score on the first fence of the course.
Somerford Park has once again experienced incredible entries for the Baileys Horse Feeds sponsored International Horse Trials, which takes place at Cheshire’s premier equestrian venue 16th - 18th August 2019.
A plethora of leading riders will be competing across a variety of classes throughout the weekend. Last year’s 2* winner Piggy French returns to defend her title with Highdown March and Sportsfield Top Notch entered in the CCI-S3* and a total of seven horses entered across the weekend, including Fridays’s Open Intermediate and Intermediate.
Kitty King, makes a welcome return to Somerford Park following her recent win at Burgham, and will be riding five horses including her European ride Vendredi Biats, enjoying a run in Friday’s Open Intermediate ahead of their European contention.
Laura Collett contests the CCI-S3* with Sir Papillon and the CCI-S2* with Moonlight Charmer and Sober Up.
While husband and wife partnership Tim and Jonelle Price will compete 10 horses between them with Tim riding Happy Boy in the CCI-S3*.
Somerford Park also looks forward to welcoming Tina Cook, Andrew Nicholson, Alex Hua Tian, Tom McEwen, Izzy Taylor, Oliver Townend, Gemma Tattersall and Holly Woodhead, across a weekend of thrilling action.
“We are delighted as ever to play host to such a fabulous list of top competitors and welcome their support of Somerford Park,” said Millie King.
“Somerford Park makes every effort to provide exceptional ground and courses, and this is reflected in the entries we continue to receive for our events”
Head to Somerford Park and enjoy top sporting action across all four days as well as, great shopping, amazing food outlets and licensed bar.
zzy Taylor nipped into second place in the Newton Hall CCI4*-S class at Burgham International Horse Trials on the second day of dressage, scoring 25.7 on Jeremy and Andrea Brereton and Linda Mars’ Springpower.
This leaves the Oxfordshire rider just 0.6 of a penalty behind Oliver Townend, who established his lead on day one with his 2017 Burghley CCI5* winner – and defending Burgham champion – Ballaghmor Class.
There is all to play for in tomorrow’s jumping phases; British Olympian Kitty King is in third with her 2019 Bramham CCI4*-L hero Vendredi Biats on a score of 26.1.
Eventing data and analytics company Equiratings declares that, historically, the Burgham CCI4*-S winner has had to showjump clear, and there will be a nail-biting tussle over the coloured poles before those in the hunt set out on David Evans’ challenging cross-country track.
Izzy said: “Springpower felt really nice today – more established, and when he’s with you in there, you feel as one.”
Oliver Townend commented: “I’m looking forward to taking my horses across country at Burgham tomorrow – it is a true, tough test. The ground looks fantastic and, as ever, the Burgham team have gone to a massive amount of effort to provide the best event possible.”
Izzy and Oliver also won an open intermediate section apiece today. Izzy took Vertem section H aboard Lizzie Matthews’ eight-year-old Springwind Vangelis.
Izzy said: “I’m really delighted to win this – he obviously likes the Northumberland air! It was fantastic preparation for the British Novice Championships at Gatcombe Park next week.”
Oliver scored in Bidfood section G on Diana and Paul Ridgeon’s 12-year-old Ulises, another horse who is heading to the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe next week, this time for the British Open Championship.
“This was a great warm-up for him – he’s a fast horse who finds the cross-country very easy,” said Oliver.
The Shropshire rider remains in pole position in the Howard Russell CCI3*-S on Cooley Master Class, the dual Kentucky CCI5* winner, while Izzy Taylor (PSH Lava Flow) holds on to second. Young Irish rider Susie Berry, last to go in this class, managed to snatch third spot on John The Bull, scoring 26.1 – leaving her just 0.1 of a penalty behind Izzy.
And the Metnor Group CCI2*-S has a new leader – Cumbria’s Robyn Gray, now based in Cheshire. She scored 27.1 on Jan Ball’s eight-year-old Gelukkig to overtake Harry Meade and Merrywell Tradition. Tom Jackson and Ask For Manchier remain in third place.
Showjumping starts at 8am tomorrow and cross-country at 9am. There are also British Riding Clubs area showjumping qualifiers at Burgham on Sunday. Other attractions include children’s entertainment, a wide variety of locally produced food options, licenced bars, a fun dog show and great shopping.
For more information, visit www.burghaminternationalhorsetrials.co.uk.
Oliver Townend is in the lead in both the Newton Hall CCI4*-S class and the Howard Russell CCI3*-S class at Northumberland’s premier equestrian event, Burgham International Horse Trials, after the first day of dressage.
Oliver has brought his top two horses – 2017 Burghley CCI5* winner Ballaghmor Class, owned by Val Ryan, Angela Hislop and Karyn Shuter, and Cooley Master Class, winner of Kentucky CCI5* in both 2018 and 2019 and owned by Angela Hislop – to Burgham. He won the CCI4*-S last year on Ballaghmor Class and the CCI3*-S on Tregilder.
Today in the Audi On Demand International Arena, he scored 25.1 on 12-year-old Ballaghmor Class in the CCI4*-S, who also finished runner-up at Badminton CCI5* this spring, and 21.4 in the CCI3*-S on Cooley Master Class, and holds considerable leads in each section.
“Neither horse was 100% tuned as this is part of their preparation for the major events of the autumn, but I was happy with where they are at the moment,” said Oliver. “I always bring my top horses to Burgham because it has the best going and some of the best courses in the country.”
Leicestershire rider Eliza Stoddart sits in second place in the Newton Hall CCI4*-S with a score of 29.4 aboard Priorspark Opposition Freedom, while Tom Jackson is third with 29.8 on Bahira M.
In the Howard Russell CCI3*-S, Izzy Taylor piloted PSH Lava Flow into second place late on in proceedings, scoring 26. Cheshire’s Yasmin Ingham holds third with Banzai Du Loir on a mark of 27.1.
Harry Meade has taken the lead in the Metnor Group CCI2*-S. He scored 27.3 on Peter Harris’s seven-year-old Merrywell Tradition, with Tom Jackson closely behind with 27.9 on Ask For Manchier. Third is Erika Sjostrom (Dantino B, 28.5).
Sebastian Roldan Olivera, who rides for Northumberland’s Ben and Emma Hobday, won the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier for four-year-olds with Shadow Kingsman, owned by Ben with Jack and Freya Cork. Warwickshire rider Ben Way took the five-year-old class riding Jocelyn Rosenberg’s Annsfort Simba, just pipping Oliver Townend’s Cooley Rosalent, who was ridden by Victor Burtin.
Dressage for all three international sections continues tomorrow (Saturday, 27 July), while showjumping and cross-country take place on Sunday, 28 July. National competitions take central stage tomorrow, with classes running from BE90 to open intermediate level.
There are also British Riding Clubs area showjumping qualifiers at Burgham on Sunday.
Other attractions include lots of children’s entertainment, a wide variety of carefully selected locally produced food options, licenced bars and great shopping.
For more information and to buy tickets online, visit www.burghaminternationalhorsetrials.co.uk.
The 23rd edition of Le Grand Complet will gather fans of equestrian sports and thrills at the historic site at the Haras national du Pin (Orne, Normandy, France) from August 7 to 13, 2019. World n°1 among international competitions in 2018 by the number of competitors, this event is the only international eventing competition organized in Normandy and the unique FEI Eventing Nations Cup venue in France. The event offers also numerous activities and surprises for the whole family, as it has been the case since its creation in 1995.
The Olympic Games in everyone’s sights.
Winning its ticket for the next Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon (USA) in September 2018 with a great team bronze medal was a feat for France. 2019 is therefore a year of preparation for the French staff that is already working to identify future selectable couples.
Ideally placed in the international calendar, Le Grand Complet has always been one of the last big test before major championships. This was the case last year with the participation of the French Olympic medallist Astier Nicolas with Vinci de la Vigne (7th individual at the WEG), but also Donatien Schauly riding Pivoine des Touches, Maxime Livio and Opium de Verrieres, as well as Sidney Dufresne and Tresor Mail, all three winners of the FEI Pin Nations Cup and team bronze winners at the Tryon JEM.
The FEI Eventing Nations Cup is the perfect opportunity for the chefs d’equipe to test horse/rider pairs for the major deadlines thanks to its team format. Le Grand Complet, theatre scene of the French leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup circuit and one of the 7 organized ones in the world, serves as a life-size test. This year, the European nations will have a major goal: the European Championships taking place in Luhmühlen, Germany, from 28 August to 1 September.
New: website available in English!
The OC Ustica, in charge of holding the next FEI European Eventing Championships, decided to invest and translate most of its website. You will now find all the information you need about the show in English!
Le Grand Complet: world n°1 event in the heart of the event riders.
The international 3-Day event organized by Ustica at the Haras national du Pin is now deeply rooted in the international calendar. In 2018, according to the statistics produced by the FEI, between October 1st 2017 and September 27th 2018, Le Grand Complet was the World n°1 eventing competition by the number of competitors (370), ahead of Tattersall (IRL) with 362, and Jardy (FRA) with 360.
Le Grand Complet is also the 1st one in terms of number of starters in an FEI Eventing Nations Cup stage with 107 riders just ahead of Houghton Hall (GBR) with 105.
All the best riders in the world have galoped on the cross-country track designed by Pierre Le Goupil : the legend Mark Todd (NZL) – photo above -, the Olympic & World Champion Michael Jung (GER), the Olympic medallists Christopher Burton (AUS), Astier Nicolas (FRA) and Andrew Hoy (AUS), and many more.
Every year, it is more than 15 nations competing at Le Pin, making of it the French international 3-Day event which gathers the largest number of foreign riders.
It's a truth universally acknowledged that an Event Rider Masters leg, quietly referred to as a dressage competition, must surely be in want of some serious excitement on the second day – and Leg Four at Haras de Jardy certainly didn't disappoint.
After a heated battle between the boards yesterday, the scores were at an all-time low - and with the top twenty competitors sitting within two rails of one another, there wasn't going to be any margin for error as we headed into the showjumping and cross-country phases today.
Just eleven horse-and-rider combinations would produce clear rounds inside the time over the poles, sending some well-placed combinations tumbling down the leaderboard and opening the door for others to begin their ascent. Among those major movers was Germany's Felix Etzel, who toppled two rails with Bandit 436 and dropped from fourth place to twentieth. New Zealand's Jonelle Price, hot in pursuit of valuable series points, delivered a clear round just outside the optimum time to move from fourteenth to ninth with Grovine de Reve.
But at the conclusion of the influential showjumping phase, the top of the leaderboard remained untouched: France's Lt. Col. Thibaut Vallette and his Olympic partner Qing du Briot ENE HN had added just 1.6 time penalties to their dressage score of 23.2, keeping them less than one second ahead of second-placed Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V.
But there's no such thing as a certainty in eventing, and even less so in the fast-paced, high-tension tracks of the Event Rider Masters. Jardy's course featured classic French design by Pierre Michelet - a true master of creating tough and technical tracks over flat landscapes, he created a veritable go-kart track with questions that didn't relent until competitors had crossed the finish line.
Time would prove to be one of the most influential factors on the course, which saw twenty combinations come home clear but just two finish inside the optimum time.
One of those double-clear finishers was France's Gireg le Coz, who rode his nine-year-old Selle Français gelding Aisprit de la Loge in just the horse's second attempt at this level. They were the only combination to finish on their dressage score, which allowed them to climb from 11th place after the first phase to take the win.
"I can't believe it," says Gireg, who debuted the horse at the CCI4*-S level at the Arville leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series last month, finishing sixth. "My horse was amazing, from the dressage through to the end of the cross-country - he's been so good. He's only a nine-year-old, but he's so honest."
That honesty, and the horse's careful production, allowed the pair to make light work of what could have been a sticky moment at the water: "I didn't have the stride that I wanted, but he was very honest. He feels much more experienced now in jumping between the flags."
Gireg takes home a cheque for €18,000 and collects valuable series points, too - he now sits fourth in the 2019 rankings on 51 points. But will we see him at any more legs this year?
"Yes, I think so now," he laughs.
Just a tenth of a penalty precluded a win for 2017 ERM champion Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V, who added 3.2 time penalties in a bold and determined trip across Michelet's track.
"That [tenth of a penalty] will be my badly-ridden flying change," laughs Gemma, who lost out on valuable marks in yesterday's otherwise remarkable test when she earned fours for one of the changes. "She's put in a great performance this weekend, and I'm so proud of her. There was a lot of determination [on course], to be honest. She gave me a bit of a heart attack near the end of the course - I lost my steering for some reason, but we managed to stay inside the flags!"
Event Rider Masters debutante Felix Vogg showed off his considerable experience, partnering his World Equestrian Games mount Colero to third place after a classy, quick round saw them add just four time penalties to their 25.8 dressage.
"I think I have a pretty good horse - it was his first outing again after a big event," explains the Swiss rider, who has recently relocated back to Europe after a stint in the US. He and Colero finished sixth at this spring's Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*, marking a successful end to their time abroad.
Nevertheless, says Felix, "I didn't expect [this result] when I came here - there are so many good riders and good horses, so I'm very happy."
Last year's winner Alex Bragg delivered one of the two double-clears of the day to finish fourth, this time riding the exciting young up-and-comer Alcatraz.
"You need a good horse, a nippy horse, and they need to be really genuine," he says of Michelet's testing track, which saw experienced competitors, including Tim Priceand Sarah 'Cutty' Cohen, falter. "The strides get so big when the horses are going fast, but you've still got to be able to adjust when you come around the corner. I'm thrilled with Alcatraz; to very nearly finish on his dressage score, bar that single second in the showjumping, is a real personal best for him, and I'm thrilled to be back on the podium."
The shock withdrawal of series leader Chris Burton left the door wide open for a new face at the top spot, and consummate competitor Jonelle Price duly stepped up to the plate. She finished sixth with Grovine de Reve, adding 0.8 time penalties in the showjumping and a further 2 across the country, but putting her in the lead for the series title by 7 points.
"I'm really pleased with the horse," she says of the young star. "Obviously in a field as competitive as the one we've got today, every second counts. He had a little look at the first water and needed a little reminder, but he's a very genuine horse and I'm really excited to see where our relationship will go."
Chris Burton drops to third in the 2019 leaderboard, while fellow Aussie Bill Levettslips into second place after a ninth-place finish today with his ERM specialist Shannondale Titan.
Click here to view final results, and click here to view the rankings following Leg 4.
The 'King of Barbury', Andrew Nicholson (NZL), regained his crown today – making it the sixth time he has won at this level at Barbury, but the first time whilst riding Paul and Dizy Ridgeon's Swallow Springs.Andrew, who lives just over the hill from Barbury, at Lockeridge, said: "I love coming here. I like to support my local event and I've brought a lot of my nice novice horses this weekend.
"Swallow Springs has always been a very good horse, but he likes to look about - you can be coming to a difficult fence and his mind is on the bar or getting an ice-cream. Now, though, he's very focused - he's starting to feel like Avebury [four-time winner at Barbury]."
Overnight leader Mollie Summerland (GBR), 21, was delighted to put the ghost of Bramham, when her saddle slipped, behind her. She finished second on Charly van ter Heiden, her 7.2 cross-country time penalties just pushing her below the speedy Andrew Nicholson, who is 36 years her senior. "I really want to make eventing my career. The only thing holding me back is lack of horsepower, but I hope that perhaps someone might notice me now and send me a horse. You never know!"
Alex Bragg (GBR) rode two horses in to the top 10. He finished third on the mare Hester and seventh on King of the Mill. Alex was full of praise for event director Alec Lochore's track, which he has taken over from Capt Mark Phillips. "Alec built a super track. They were all decent courses, as they should be. If you're trying to produce a horse for the top, you need these types of tracks to bring them on. The ground had super grass cover, too."
Zara Tindall rose more than 30 places with the fastest time of the day, just five seconds over the optimum time of 6 minutes 33 seconds, to fourth on Watkins. She finished on the same score as Pippa Funnell riding MGH Grafton Street, Zara's cross-country speed giving her the advantage.
The eventing classes for 2019 concluded with two sections of novice. These were won by Matthew Glentworth (GBR) riding Forthright and Jesse Campbell (NZL) on Sportsfield Global Warrior.
The star-studded showpiece CIC4*-S class is headed by 21-year-old Mollie Summerland on her smart-moving Charly Van Ter Heiden on the excellent score of 23.8. She holds a 3.3-penalty lead over her trainer, Pippa Funnell, riding the Badminton trailblazer, MGH Grafton Street.
Mollie, who is now running her own yard in Lincolnshire, only has the one horse at this level so a lot is riding on tomorrow’s jumping phases, especially as she had the disappointment of her saddle slipping on her last major outing, at Bramham.
“I was very down after that, but I have been working hard with the World Class sport psychologist and have realised that these things sometimes happen,” said Mollie, who tried a different warm-up routine with the 10-year-old Charly, a horse that had only done dressage when she bought him.
“I was falling into the trap of over-riding him before his dressage, so I lunged him for 20 minutes and then warmed him up for half an hour. He was on the verge of bubbling over – I’m not that experienced so trying to control these Valegro-like changes felt a bit out of my comfort zone – but I managed to contain him.”
American rider Liz Halliday-Sharp is in third place on Deniro Z, Australians Catherine Burrell (Milan) and Kevin McNab (Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam) are fourth and fifth and Somerset-based Alex Bragg completes an international top six with sixth place on Hester.
The CIC4*-S class will be show jumping in the main arena from 9am, followed by cross-country over event director Alec Lochore’s revamped course from 10.45am.
CCI3*-S section A
Piggy French (GBR) rode Alison Swinburn, John and Chloe Perry's Brookfield Quality (pictured) to a win in 3* section A, the partnership's fourth win of the season. Dressage leaders Marcelo Tosi (BRA) and Starbucks had a hugely expensive showjumping round after which they jumped a steady cross country clear to plummet down to 58th place.
A single showjump rail down prevented Adam Harvey (GBR) and Picasso V from successfully defending the class they won last year, opening the door for Piggy French to climb above them on the leaderboard.
“Brookfield Quality is a fabulous jumper and very professional. I've not been riding him long and at home he almost felt too careful. I still have work to do, but he can definitely go to the next level – we just need to cement our relationship.”
Sir Mark Todd completed the top three, finishing 0.2 of a penalty behind Adam riding Leonidas II, a five-star horse who is back competing after time off.
CCI3*-S section B
Second after the dressage phase, Andrew Nicholson and the Spanish bred As Is claimed section B, having showjumped clear and come home three seconds over the cross-country optimum time. As Is is a full brother to Damaso, a winner for Andrew in a novice class yesterday. The horse recently finished seventh in the CCI4*-L at Bramham so this was a relatively easy spin for the horse.
Dressage leaders Hannah Bate and Fanta Boy dropped well down the order with penalties in both jumping phases.
Piggy French was back in the money, this time riding Brookfield Inocent in to second place. Disappointingly Calling Card dropped from third to fourth after picking up 3.2 cross-country time penalties when having to circle between fences in the second half of the course.
“I had a slight brake failure with Calling Card after a downhill gallop and couldn't get my turn – but I'm sure it's fixable. Brookfield Inocent is such a lovely, talented horse, I'm so excited about him. He just wants to do it,” said Piggy.
Completing the top three were Laura Collett and Sir Papillon who were faultless in both the jumping phases.