Nicolas Touzaint (pictured) won the inaugural four-star at Pau, France, today, but it was closer than anybody anticipated.
The Frenchman had two fences in hand going into the ring, and used both up early on. But he coaxed Hildago De L’Ile clear over the remaining fences to win by just 0.6 of a penalty.
Overnight runner-up Andrew Nicholson notched up 20 penalties with the mare Ginger May Killinghurst, leaving the way open for Mary King to move up to second.
Mary finished on her dressage score on Imperial Cavalier, whom she has had for only a few months.
Pippa Funnell had just one down to retain third place on Ensign.
Don’t forget to buy Horse & Hound next week (1 November) for a full report from Pau, colour photographs and Mark Phillips’s column.
1. Hildago De L’Ile (Nicolas Touzaint, FRA) 50.4
2. Imperial Cavalier (Mary King, GB) 51
3. Ensign (Pippa Funnell, GB) 53.6
4. Lorgaine (Niall Griffin, IRL) 59.4
5. Inonothing (Paul Tapner, FRA) 61.2
6. Ginger May Killinghurst (Andrew Nicholson, NZL) 66.6