The flagship CCI3* at Blenheim can be a pointer to future horses to watch — among the past winners who have gone on to take four-stars honours are Lucinda Fredericks on Headley Britannia and William Fox-Pitt on Parklane Hawk, while Kim Severson also claimed the class on Winsome Adante, who went on to take Olympic individual silver in 2004.
Two horses have already made their mark on this year’s CCI3* by scoring in the 30s today in the dressage. They are Orlando — a new ride for Harry Meade, but formerly second at Bramham under Izzy Taylor — and Seigneur Medicott, under Germany’s Bettina Hoy.
Orlando is not the fastest horse, while Seigneur Medicott has had some jumping faults across country — including 20 penalties when leading the Event Rider Masters (ERM) at Blair last month — but neither can be discounted this weekend.
Also worth watching in the CCI3* are Ballingowan Diamond (who did a solid test at Burghley last week for Ibby Macpherson but retired across country after a tack malfunction), Bulana (last year’s Boekelo CCI3* winner for Nicola Wilson) and Billy Cuckoo (who has not had much exposure but has quadruple Blenheim CCI3* winner Pippa Funnell in the saddle).
Young horse CIC3*
Heading this year’s field is British Rio reserve horse Billy The Red, ridden by Tina Cook. Cooley SRS, last year’s Ballindenisk CCI3* winner under Oliver Townend, is also worth keeping an eye on, as is Tom McEwen with Bramham under-25 CCI3* winner Toledo De Kerser and Laura Collett on last year’s seven-year-old world champion Mr Bass.
Belgium’s Karin Donckers fields one of the oldest competing progeny of the super stallion Chilli Morning — the eight-year-old Jalapeno, out of a mare by Shaab (himself sire of 2008 Badminton runner-up Shaabrak).
Among other foreign challengers will be New Zealand’s Jock Paget with Angus Blue, who was nearly second in the ERM at Blair but was eliminated for jumping the wrong side of a flag.
Event Rider Masters finale
Four riders are in the running to take the series title at this final event of the inaugural ERM series — Australia’s Paul Tapner (who leads the rankings by one point), Britain’s Gemma Tattersall and Oliver Townend and New Zealand’s Jonelle Price. The overall winner will collect at £30,000 bonus, while the usual £16,000 goes to the victor in this particular leg.
All four of these riders are certainly in the running for winning this competition. Paul rides Yogi Bear, who has been in the top 10 at three ERM competitions so far, Gemma has her Olympic reserve horse Chico Bella P, Oliver fields the only horse to have won two ERM events in Cillnabradden Evo, and Jonelle Price has last year’s young horse CIC3* winner, Cloud Dancer II.
Watch out too for Mark Todd with his Rio horse Leonidas II and Sam Griffiths, who was forced to pull up Happy Times at Burghley due to a stirrup breaking. Other challengers could include Nicola Wilson on 2015 European team silver medallist One Two Many and France’s Tom Carlile on the smart young stallion Upsilon, ERM and British open runner-up at Gatcombe.
Full Blenheim report in H&H magazine next week, out Thursday, 15 September.