Lucy Wiegersma leads the CCI*** at Blenheim Horse Trials after today’s cross-country.
Lucy and Granntevka Prince lay fourth after dressage on 45.4, but they put in one of only six clear rounds inside the optimum time to move up to first place.
“He was just magic,” said Lucy. “I was a bit embarrassed to be so far under the time [nine seconds] — I set my watch to five seconds early, as I always do, and forgot I’d done that [so I was nine seconds faster than I expected].
“You get a feel for how to ride this place — you have to allow them to travel up the hills at their own speed. But he’s nippy and as I came to the stone houses [Cotwold Life Boxes, fence 19ab] I realised how much horse I had left underneath me.”
Granntevka Prince is a Grannex-sired nine-year-old who was bred by his owner, Geraldine Mills, and he was British Eventing six-year-old champion in 2006.
Emily Baldwin keeps the second place she held after the first phase by adding eight time-penalties to her dressage score of 38.5 with Drivetime.
“He’s not the greatest galloper and he wastes time in the air, so I have to be strict with myself when I’m walking the course about riding the tightest lines, and that’s what I did here,” said Emily.
“I was really pleased with him — I was a bit worried about how he’d cope with the hills, but when I got in the arena I was surprised how fast I was still going and he had a turn of speed coming home.”
Daisy Dick’s clear inside the time has moved her up from 21st after dressage to third with Spring Along, who was re-routed here after being pulled up after a run-out at the troublesome fence six at Burghley last week.
“Spring Along was amazing, I couldn’t fault his round,” said Daisy. “He loved it — it’s the third time he’s been here and it suits him, being a stamina test.”
Devastating late stop for dressage leader
This was the first time the Blenheim track has been ridden in a clockwise direction and Eric Winter’s course generally rode well, with faults spread around different fences, no holds and no serious injuries.
Dressage leader Allison Springer had a devastating 20 penalties late on course at The Joules Blackberry Brushes (fence 26ab) with Arthur, while fence 13ab put paid to the chances of both Neil Spratt (third after dressage on Upleadon) and Pippa Funnell (fifth after dressage on Ensign).
The direct route through the fence — named the The My Wine Club’s Butt & Barrel Bar (pictured above) — consisted of a big table, followed by a left-hand curving line to a corner on three to five strides. Neil had a fall at this fence, while Ensign ran-out at the corner.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s show jumping, Lucy Wiegersma does not have a fence in hand over Emily Baldwin, so if Emily jumps clear, the Lucy will have to also leave all the fences intact to win her first Blenheim title.
“He is a good jumper, although I don’t think he’s jumped a clear at an event his year,” said Lucy. “He’s saving it up for here!”
CCI*** RESULTS AFTER CROSS-COUNTRY
1.Lucy Wiegersma on Granntevka Prince (GB) 45.4
2.Emily Baldwin on Drivetime (GB) 46.5
3.Daisy Dick on Spring Along (GB) 50
4.Andrew Nicholson on Mr Cruise Control (NZL) 50.2
5.Will Faudree on Pawlow (USA) 50.9
6.J-P Sheffield on Crown Farm Consort (GB) 52.9
Stay up to date with more reports from Blenheim tomorrow on www.horseandhound.co.uk and buy Horse & Hound next week (17 September issue) for a full report.