Izzy Taylor proved unstoppable to win the final leg of the Event Rider Masters (ERM) series at the SsangYong Blenheim International Horse Trials.

Izzy and the scopey Be Touchable followed yesterday’s leading dressage performance with a foot-perfect showjumping round.

The pair were therefore last to in the cross-country.

A run-out at the skinny brush after the ditch at fence 14 for both Oliver Townend with Cooley Master Class and Shane Rose on CP qualified, who were lying second and third, gave Izzy a 17-second margin ahead of Tim Price and Ascona M.

But the combination proved that they did not need it and a quick round resulted in them picking up just 1.2 cross-county time penalties to win by 5.7 penalties on a score of 36.9.

I quite like the pressure and luckily it works well for me,” said Izzy, adding she heard how much time she had in hand while galloping between fences four and five.

“[Be Touchable] is a cheeky little thing – he is very talented and finds it very easy.”

She added he was “fantastic” through the tricky coffin combination at fence 14, which – like the CCI3* – caused problems for a number of combinations.

The win was Izzy’s eighth international victory of 2017, which she credits to her horsepower, owners and team.

“It has been really exciting this year, but also hopefully for next year and the future,” she said.

 

A blistering round from Christopher Burton and Graf Liberty gave the Australian a brief spell in the top spot on the ERM podium.

However, just three horses later, Tim and the nine-year-old mare Ascona M skipped around the course to also complete inside the time and bump Christopher down the leaderboard to finish an eventual third.

“[Ascona M] has really come along – she has legs that go everywhere, she’s like a spider,” said Tim.

“She’s getting better with time – she has got better and better as she has got more mileage and that is why the time was gettable for her, when I would typically say she’s not the sort of horse that could get the time round here.

“She’s smooth and she picked up all the fences really well.”

 

“Bricks and mortar”

Gemma Tattersall was given a chance to celebrate her phenomenal ERM success this year as she was crowned 2017 ERM series champion in front of Blenheim Palace.

Gemma was revealed as the series victor after the penultimate leg of the series at Blair Castle as her success that far meant that nobody could catch her on points.

Credit: Event Rider Masters

She also finished fourth in the Blenheim leg today (16 September) aboard Chico Bella P, taking points total to 132 and her series winnings to £81,000 this year. Half of this is shared with her owners.

“I have had some other results at four-star level and every bit of money I can I put away, even teaching money, and I’m really hoping that is going to end up as bricks,” she said.

In second place is Sarah Cohen with 93 points. Sarah only has one horse, Treason, and the combination competed at six out of the seven legs.

Mark Todd finished third on 87 points.

 

Hopes for US leg

ERM chief executive revealed exciting plans for the 2018 series at the post-prizegiving press conference.

Pending FEI approval, there are hopes to host a leg in Arville in Belgium in June and one in the US at Carolina in March.

Mr Stone also spoke of the ERM’s growing audience of viewers.

“We are building a much bigger audience for the sport – an audience that is measured in millions rather than tens of thousands,” he said.

Mr Stone added he is “astonished” by the number of people who have tuned in across digital platforms and for the amount of time they spend watching eventing – an average of 27 minutes.

“Here we are at Blenheim Palace – this sport has some amazing things, and tradition and history are incredible parts of the sport,” he said.

He added that ERM is not “absconding” from the eventing’s tradition and history, but is rather adding to the sport.

Hopes for the future include: terrestrial television coverage, super-slow motion camera angles, performance statistics overlays onto clips and more rider footage.