Ingrid Klimke is on course for her first four-star victory after giving Butts Abraxxas a superb ride across country at Luhmuhlen. “I’m thrilled,” she said, “everything went to plan and my horse felt fit and confident.”
Sharon Hunt was equally committed on a relaxed Tankers Town, who stormed around Mark Phillips’s reworked course where the big fences came relentlessly to finish second, less than four penalties in arrears.
Oliver Townend admitted to déjà vu when he fell off over the boathouse in the third water complex as Carousel Quest jumped in strongly and then got too close to the fence in the water. But he regrouped and produced a classic round on Ashdale Cruise Master, on whom he has improved one place to third.
“You’ve just got to get on the next horse,” Oliver said philosophically, “and a lovely ride like that makes all the difference when you’re having a downer.”
Lucy Wiegersma had the best two-horse record of the day and is in fifth and eighth on Granntevka Prince and Woodfalls Inigo Jones. She said of the latter: “He feels like an old pro now; he made it easy.”
But there was disappointment for Paul Tapner, who plummeted 20 places to 29th after a run-out at the coffin with Kilfinnie ll, and disaster for British riders Francis Whittington and Nick Gauntlett. The former suffered the day’s only horse fall when Sir Percival tipped over a wide brush fence leaving the arena and the latter called it a day when the stallion Chilli Morning refused to jump the little ditch in the coffin.
Andreas Dibowski, lying fourth on the mare FRH Fantasia, said the course was much improved from last year and, indeed, the statistics made for happier reading: 32 clear rounds and 37 finishes from the 41 cross-country starters with eight inside the optimum time.
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