‘The more I walk it, the stronger it seems’: take a look at this year’s CCI4* Pau cross-country track

Later today (27 October), the cross-country phase gets underway at Les étoiles de Pau CCI***. Designed by Pierre Michelet, this year’s course features 45 jumping efforts over a distance of 6,320m, making the optimum time 11min 6sec.

Ros Canter, who currently sits in second aboard Zenshera said: “It’s a proper four-star test, with questions from start to finish. The first water comes up very quickly, particularly as you approach the first element around a blind bend — horses then need to look ahead in order to take on the step out to angled brush. Horses and riders need to be on it the whole way round.”

New Zealand rider Tim Price said: “I think the track is less intense than it was here last year, but the questions still come thick and fast, with the first two waters coming up early on the course and this section is also particularly twisty. You need a nice rhythm here to make the time.”

Phillip Dutton, agreed saying: “You need your horse to be thinking forward and listening for this course.”

Ireland’s Joseph Murphy explained: “The more I walk it, the stronger it seems. The first water will be influential and the twists and turns cause trouble here. The horse really needs to be taking you and as riders we will have to work with the feeling they give us. The fact that this course is mostly flat, I think is tougher on the horses — there is nowhere to let them have a breather running downhill. I think the time will be difficult to get and I hope it rides better than it walks.”

First-time Pau competitor Will Furlong pointed out that there are “lots of angles and corners horses could run past.”

“There’s not one particular fence that I think will catch people out — it’s very cleverly built with questions spread throughout the course. The organisers have done a fantastic job on the ground, watering and aerovating it. I think the first water will prove influential given how early it comes up.”

Let’s take a look around what riders will be facing from 1.30pm this afternoon (12.30pm BST)…

Fence 1

Fence 2

Fence 3

Fence 4

Fence 5AB

Fence 6

Fence 7AB and 8

Fence 9

Fence 10

Fence 11

Fence 12

Fence 13

Fence 14

Fence 15

Fence 16AB

Fence 17

Fence 18

Fence 19

Fence 20

Fence 21

Fence 22

Fence 23

Fence 24AB and 25

Fence 26

Fence 27

 

Fence 28

Fence 29

Fence 30

Fence 31AB

Fence 32

Fence 33

Fence 34AB and 35

Fence 36

Fence 37AB

Fence 38

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news and reports from Pau via horseandhound.co.uk, and don’t miss the full report in next week’s magazine (1 November)

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