Looking ahead to European’s cross-country day

  • The talking point is Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course, a veritable fount of imaginative designs and unprecedented angles, some of which no riders will have been able to practise and no one can predict how they will ride.

    First of these, on the strong first part of the course, is a bald corner approached on a two-striding turn through a gap in the hedge, where horses will be tempted to run-out.

    The first water is also causing considerable consternation. There is a downhill bounce and one-stride distance into the water. This is followed by a 200-yard-plus “splash” to a severely angled bar in the water and a curving route to a massive bank and bounce stride to a hedge.

    Other major tests include two curving “eyelash” hedges, a ditch to a bounce stride over a narrow hedge, and a massive bank in the second water where the exit is narrow and demands precision riding.

    Leslie Law described the first part of thetrack as “decent”.

    ” I’ve never seen anything like that blind corner before, not the water, so we’ve no idea how the horses will cope. But sometimes horses jump unusual things absolutely fine the first time because they haven’t got time to think about it.

    “I don’t think the time will be easy. There aren’t many galloping stretches and most of the fences you’ve got to get the horse set up properly.”

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