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‘I was thinking I couldn’t jump a clear round when it matters’: Piggy French overcomes demons to dominate Blenheim CCI4*-L

Piggy French dominated on the final day of CCI4*-L competition at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials today (22 September). She held her nerve in the showjumping to maintain her cross-country lead on John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn’s 10-year-old Brookfield Inocent (pictured top), completing on her 25.4 dressage.

“I was stressing last night as I was thinking I can’t jump a clear round when it matters,” admitted Piggy. “The fact that the time was tight was definitely on my mind — you had to go at a gallop. He felt unbelievable in there today so it’s very exciting.”

Piggy also finished third with Susannah Paybody’s Castletown Clover on what was possibly the 14-year-old’s swansong from three-day events.

“He jumped his little heart out so it was a fairytale finish for him,” said Piggy. “He’s an unbelievable jumper.”

Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto was another to finish on his dressage score of 25.6, which was good enough to seal second place with Racing Association Japan’s Brookpark Vikenti.

“He felt really good before we went in so I was expecting to jump a clear round but we touched a couple of fences and it was a bit dodgy but this result is great,” explained Kazuma.

Kevin McNab, who was in third after the cross-country, slipped down to eventual 12th with Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend after lowering two poles.

Pippa Funnell also dropped down the order from fourth to sixth with Billy Walk On after breathing on one fence.

Continued below…



Australia’s Sammi Birch finished fourth with Direct Tullyoran Cruise, while Andrew Nicholson enjoyed a meteoric rise from 33rd after the dressage with the eight-year-old As Is to finish in eventual fifth. Young British rider Sam Ecroyd was sixth with Davinci III and Ireland’s Cathal Daniels was eighth on the eight-year-old mare LEB Lias Jewel.

For the full report from the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday (26 September).

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