Julia Krajewski has secured her leading position in the SsangYong Blenheim CCI3* after an influential cross-country phase.
The 29-year-old German rider finished one second inside the optimum time of 10 minutes and 12 seconds with Chipmunk FRH to add nothing to her dressage score of 33.4.
Pippa Funnell on MGH Grafton Street and Kimberley Severson with Cooley Cross Border also kept hold of their dressage positions of second and third respectively, after they both finished clear inside the time.
“I chose this track because Chipmunk likes to gallop and I like to ride him over big jumps because he backs off a little bit and it worked really well,” said Julia.
“He was really genuine, really wanted to do the job right – we had one or two sticky moments where I lost the balance a little bit because he is a huge horse for me and I really have to keep my balance to stay in position.
“But he pricked his ears and kept going.
“He is such a genuine horse and I’m really, really proud of him.”
She added he was particularly honest at the Shires Equestrian Wooded Hollow coffin combination at fence 19, which caught out 23 horses and riders in the CCI3* section.
Pippa was also full of praise for her ride, punching the air as she came through the finish.
“I’m thrilled to bits with this horse – he was fantastic,” she said.
“I can’t fault him – right from the word go he felt good.”
US Olympic silver medallist Kimberly Severson said she based Cooley Cross Border with Richard Sheane in Ireland for the summer.
“He really stepped up to the plate – it has been a long road with him, he wasn’t quite fit enough at Kentucky this year,” she explained.
She added Richard and his team did all the fitness with him this summer and she made six trips over from the US to ride and compete the horse.
“I enjoyed it, he enjoyed it – he was jumping a lot more out of his stride [than at Kentucky] so I trusted him a lot more, he stepped up and he was terrific,” she said.
“I really owe them a lot for looking after him this summer and getting him really fit.”
The arrowhead at the “c” element at fence 19 proved to be the bogey fence. Jonty Evans and Cooley Rorkes Drift were among the combinations to pick up 20 penalties here.
The angled-hedge to an arrowhead in the lake at fence 12 caught out a few combinations, including Michael Jackson who fell in the water from Treloar.
The timber rails to a corner over undulating ground at fence 21 and the brush to a corner at fence 25 also caused a few problems across the morning.
While the time was tight, the leaders proved it was obtainable and in total nine riders go forward to tomorrow’s showjumping on their dressage score.
See what William Fox-Pitt and Laura Collett thought of their rounds below:
Don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound – out Thursday, 12 September – for a full report from Blenheim