Pippa Funnell continued her triumphant progress at Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials today with an inspired piece of riding on Anne Burnet’s 11-year-old Primitive Rising gelding Jurassic Rising, who goes into the final show jumping with a five-penalty lead over Darrell Scaife on Sue Benson and Jayne Joynson’s Chase The Melody. Both the leading contenders jumped Mike Etherington-Smith’s 29-fence cross-country course clear and inside the time.

Pippa decided to ride Jurassic Rising differently today, allowing him to “flop along between fences on a loose rein to see what would happen if he had to balance himself – and it worked!”

Daisy Dick and Spring Along coasted into third place on the same score as Pippa on her other ride Viceroy II, who was slightly slower across country.

Two of Pippa’s fellow team mates for the Europeans in Punchestown next week had tip-ups, though fortunately no harm was done. William Fox-Pitt and his first ride, the Luhmuhlen winner Tom Cruise II, bowed out at fence 20 where the horse tripped and fell, and Mary King parted company from King George II at the final element of the troublesome Pit Stop at seven.

“I’m glad to have used my bad luck here!” said William.

Eighteen-year-old Amelie Billard’s quest for glory on her first visit to England came to nought when she was unshipped from her dressage leader Derby de Longueval at the Classic FM Trout Quintet brush fence four from home.

The Asia Pacific Championship, being run concurrently with this event and featuring teams from Australia, Japan and New Zealand, will decide who earns
the region’s ticket to the Athens Games. The Australians are already qualified, having won gold at the last Olympics in Sydney, which left the
other two to fight it out.

On paper it looked likely to be a walkover for the New Zealanders, fielding Andrew Nicholson (Duddles), Blyth Tait (Welton Envoy), Neil Spratt (The
Astronomer) and Dan Jocelyn (Silence) but the much less experienced Japanese, who could only muster three riders, put up a spirited challenge for much of the day.

Yuya Misaki and Elusive Warlock picked up just 3.2 time penalties to end the two days in 49th place, and Yoshiaki Oiwa was clear inside the time and is lying 12th. After Duddles and The Astronomer each picked up 20 penalties things began to look exciting. But Japan’s third rider Keizo Eto was sadly eliminated for four refusals, so the Kiwis look to have their ticket to Athens safely in the bag.

Results
1, Pippa Funnell (Jurassic Rising), 37.0
2, Darrell Scaife (Chase The Melody), 42.8
3, Daisy Dick (Spring Along), 44.0
4, Pippa Funnell (Viceroy II), 44.0
5, Amy Tryon (My Beau, USA), 45.6
6, Phillip Dutton (Nova Top, AUS), 45.6
7, Pascal Boutet (Hethy Bey, FRA), 46.8
8, Blyth Tait (Welton Envoy, NZL), 47.0
9, Philip Dutton(Dusky Moon, AUs), 48.8
10, Polly Stockton (Tom Quigley), 49.6
11, Karen O’Connor (Bally Mar), 49.8
12, Yoshiaki Oiwa (Voyou du Roc, JPN), 50.4
13, Rebecca Gibbs (Coup de Coeur), 50.8
14, Master Fred (Richard Waygood), 50.8
15, Sam Griffiths (Private Colin, AUS), 51.4