A British 1-2-3 leads the CCI*** at the Failte Ireland Punchestown Horse Trials. William Fox-Pitt, riding Jayne and George Apter’s French-bred Idalgo drew admiring glances for his paces and presence as he took a commanding lead of 8.7pen over Pippa Funnell on her mother Jenny Nolan’s Ensign, who has been swiftly re-routed after his Badminton fall. Mary King is third on 44.4 on Apache Sauce.
William benefited from particularly high marks from the ground jury president, Lord Carew, who gave him 82.17% compared to 75.65 and 75.22 from Peter Herrick and Jane Tolley respectively.
William has described tomorrow’s cross-country, designed by Tommy Brennan with Hugh Lochore, as “strong”. He said riders would have to be “physical and accurate”. The start has been re-sited so that the third fence is a roll-top over a steep slope down to a pair of angled palisades, which will make riders feel queasy enough.
Best of the Irish is Lt Geoff Curran on his Ballindenisk runner-up Kilkishen, followed by Steven Smith, fifth on Quality VH equal with Eddy Stibbe and Dusky Moon, also re-routed after a parting of the ways at Badminton.
Christian Landolt, more often seen as a judge these days, showed how it should be done in the two-star section, taking the lead on MacIntyre. Matthew Wright is second on Grove Joucas from Pippa Funnell, this time on Matter of Opinion. Bettina Hoy is fourth on Witch Doctor ahead of Kitty Boggis on Kings Cross and Badminton winner Andrew Hoy, sixth on a new ride this season, Peaceful Consort.
Full results on www.punchestown3de.com