‘I’m pinching myself’: Nicola Wilson gains ground to land the CCI4*-S at Blenheim Horse Trials

  • The CCI4*-S had a dramatic conclusion as the leaderboard underwent a shake-up in an influential cross-country phase at Blenheim Horse Trials.

    Nicola Wilson took victory riding Coolparks Sarco, who jumped a double clear inside the time to move up from third after showjumping. Piggy March was second on Cooley Lancer, climbing from sixth, while Caroline Harris was third with Miss Pepperpot. Meanwhile both first and second ahead of this phase, Ros Canter (Izilot DHI) and Tom Jackson (HH Moonwalk) dropped out of contention with run-outs.

    Nicola Wilson had course experience over David Evans’ tough track. She had already steered Hawk Eye round clear inside the time when she came into the startbox on Coolparks Sarco, who repeated the feat.

    “I’m delighted with both my horses, they both gave me a super ride, and finished on their dressage scores,” said Nicola, also fourth on Hawk Eye. “I thought it was a really difficult course with lots to jump. They had to be sharp and on their game. I’m so pleased with how they kept their focus. I’m pinching myself to have such very exciting horses.

    “They have got bags of scope and ability and massive length of stride. It is all a bit unknown [at this level], you hope they stay confident and come up more grown up than they came in, and I couldn’t be more proud. Hopefully there’s something special round the corner for them.”

    Piggy March’s former young horse world champion, eight-year-old Cooley Lancer, produced a stunning round just 3sec outside the time to move up from sixth and finish runner-up. Meanwhile Caroline Harris completed the podium in third spot with Miss Pepperpot. They jumped clear for two time-faults.

    “She was amazing, very, very strong,” said Caroline. “She had a fall last time out at Wellington, but she didn’t let it faze her, she was keen and pulled me right the way through the finish. This was the toughest I’ve seen this course, testing the straightness and honesty of young horses.”

    A day of drama on Blenheim horse trials cross-country

    There was drama in the top 10, when long-time leader Ros Canter’s ride Izilot DHI glanced off one of the corners at the four-part combination at 12, in an otherwise excellent round.

    Izzy Taylor came off seventh-placed ride Carolines Air KM before starting and the mare galloped off round the course. She was eventually caught and Izzy remounted and started out last of all. But it was not a going day for the mare, who decided to run out having already taken off at the corner at fence 5b and tipped Izzy out of the plate.

    It wasn’t all bad for Izzy, as she had already jumped a super clear for 1.2 time-faults on Hartacker to seal fifth place, having started this phase in 11th.

    “He is a real baby but he went round like a grown-up horse,” she said.

    Tom Jackson was another to have the benefit of a clear inside the time with his lower-placed horse Ask For Manchier when he set off in the runner-up position on HH Moonwalk. But the bay had a run-out at a corner in the combination at fence 12b and took out a flag at another corner in the middle of fence 17.

    Former winner of this class Willa Newton was lying fifth on Cock A Doodle Doo but dropped out of the prizes with a run-out at the final corner on course (17b).

    “A relief to have a good run”

    Will Rawlin made up for a fall across country in yesterday’s CCI4*-L, coming home in a decent time with 3.2 time-faults on Ballycoog Breaker Boy for eventual eighth.

    “I really needed that round after yesterday [on The Partner], we had a miscommunication at an open corner and I hit the ground quite hard, so I’m still feeling it setting up a horse like Ballycoog Breaker Boy who is big and still quite weak,” said Will. “This horse is incredible, so straight not matter what line or gear I’m in he’ll jump whatever is in front of him. It’s a relief to have a really good run and get the job done.”

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