The inaugural Event Rider Masters (ERM) series comes to a head at Blenheim this weekend (10-11 September). Not only is there £16,000 on offer to the winner of this leg, but also a prize-fund of £50,000 for the series, with £30,000 to the winner.

Only four riders are in the running for the series title: Paul Tapner, Gemma Tattersall, Oliver Townend and Jonelle Price.

With riders only able to count points from four events through the season, each competitor has a slightly different situation going into Blenheim — and their final result depends not only on their own performance, but also on that of the others.

Here are the facts you need to know:

  • If Paul wins the leg, only Gemma can beat him to the series title (by finishing second)
  • If Gemma wins the leg, she will win the series title regardless of everyone else’s performances
  • If Oliver wins the leg, only Gemma can beat him to the series title (by finishing second or third). If she finishes third, they will tie for top spot on points, but Gemma will win the series in a tie-break (see below)
  • Oliver has to finish better than fifth in the leg to stand any chance of taking the overall title
  • If Oliver is sixth and Paul seventh, they will go to a tie-break, but Paul would win
  • Jonelle has to finish better than fourth in the leg to stand any chance of taking the overall title
  • If Jonelle wins the leg, Paul has to be second or third to win the series (if he is third, they go to a tie-break, which Paul would win)
  • If Jonelle wins the leg, Gemma has to be fourth or better to win the series
  • If Jonelle wins the leg, Oliver has to be second to win the series — but if Gemma finishes third, she would win the series

So that’s nice and straight-forward then.

Continued below…


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Tie-breaks

If there is a tie for the win or a place in the series, each rider’s placings in his or her best four ERM legs will be added together. The tie will be decided in favour of the rider with the lower total. If a rider has only completed three legs they will receive 40 points (equivalent to a 40th place) for the fourth effort.

Example: if rider x had competed in and won three legs they would have 90 ERM points (3 x 30 = 90). If rider y had competed in four ERM legs, finishing third three times (earning 26 points each time) and 15th once (earning 12 points), they would have also 90 points (26 x 3 + 12 = 90). Under the tie break rules rider x would have 43 points (3 x 1 = 3 + 40 for the assumed 40th place), whereas rider y would have 24 points (3 x 3 = 9 + 15) and therefore would win.

If this still results in a tie there are further provisions, based on FEI rules, but let’s hope it doesn’t get that close!

Phew! There’s a lot at stake here and it’s complicated. Thanks to the boys at EquiRatings for helping work all that out for us.

Full report of the ERM, CCI3* and young horse CIC3* at Blenheim in H&H next week (15 September).