Emilie Chandler takes showcase class at Blair: ‘I’m thrilled he jumped clear for me’

Emilie Chandler concluded her pillar-to-post win in the CCI4*-L at the Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials today (Sunday, 25 August).

No one made the time in the showjumping in this class and Emilie piloted Maria Doel’s Gortfadda Diamond round just three seconds over the time to score a wide-margin victory.

“I’m thrilled he jumped clear for me — he was keener than I imagined he would be in the collecting ring and I almost thought I should have worked him this morning, but he was great in there,” said Emilie, who said she had been distracting herself by watching the British showjumpers in Rotterdam while she waited.

Rosa Onslow added just 0.8 of a time-fault to her score to confirm her second place on Diamond Sundance, with Simon Grieve taking third after just having the front bar off fence three and two time-faults on Mr Fahrenheit III.

The top three in the CCI3*-L all showjumped clear to hold their overnight positions, with Eleanor Hope taking first place above Victoria Wilson (Dont You Know) and Ashley Harrison (Zebedee IX).

Eleanor, who is also celebrating her 20th birthday today, rode her parents Margaret and Simon’s Limestone Romeo to victory.

“It was a long wait, I’m very relieved,” said Eleanor. “The two before me put the pressure on and we rattled a few, but he helped me out a lot.”

Hayden Hankey moved up from third to claim the CCI2*-L with Cartown Galaxy — in contrast to the CCI3*-L, he was the only one of the overnight top three to jump clear today.

“She was fantastic. I did feel confident — she’s an exceptional horse, so if you weren’t going to be confident on her, you’d never be confident on anything,” he said.

Scottish rider Morven Pringle rose from fifth overnight to second on Miss Contender, while Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer took third on Viktor 107 — although her overnight runner-up, Ronaldo IV, dropped to 10th when he took the front rails off number two and the last fence.

Polly Stockton led this class overnight, but struggled to balance Sir Alfred II and change legs round the corner to fence three and had it down, which sent her down to sixth.

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Astier Nicolas took the CCI4*-S for France, moving up from fourth after showjumping to top spot on Babylon De Gamma, who belongs to Etienne Grivot, Marielle Grivot Bize and his rider. He had the fastest round across country today, with just 5.6 time-faults.

“I always said he’s a top horse from when I started riding him and he proved it again today,” said Astier.

Sam Ecroyd held second on Davinci III, while two-phase leaders Daisy Berkeley and Ballinteskin Cooper S dropped to third with 11.2 time-faults.

Full report on Blair in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 29 August).