‘It’s one heck of a course’: Blenheim’s pathfinding CCI4*-S riders give their verdict

  • The young horse CCI4*-S Blenheim Horse Trials cross-country is proving influential in the early stages of the class.

    Just after the half-way stage, there have been 13 clears and only a few within the 6min 46sec optimum time over David Evans’ course.

    The Snow Centre log roll to corner at fence 5ABC and Ford log to double brush at fence 7AB are catching out a fair share of starters. There have also been a smattering of penalties at the log roll to double brush and corner combination at 12ABCD – the furthest part of the course – and the tail, ditch and birds nest at 14 ABC.

    The competitors are running in reverse order after the showjumping phase, except for a couple who have two horses in quick succession. Nicola Wilson ran early on Helen Scott’s Hawk Eye, who was lying 10th. They jumped a rare clear bang on the time.

    “It’s one heck of a course,” said Nicola. “He’s a very powerful horse, but it’s his first time at the level. He’s never seen anything as difficult as this, never seen the crowds. But he’s brave and bold and it’s a luxury to have so much power. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

    Another rider with two up in contention was Izzy Taylor, who ran out of order on Hartacker.

    “I’m thrilled with him,” said Izzy, who added 1.2 cross-country time penalties to their dressage of 28.9. “He’s nine but a real baby and today he went down there like a grown-up horse. Plenty to do out there. So I’m really, really pleased with him.”

    Izzy added the course is tough “from word go to the end”.

    “[It’s] the terrain, the massive expanse of water – they don’t see that [many places] and technically. It was a great track, David’s got it bang on.”

    Blenheim Horse Trials cross-country is ‘a big step up’

    Alyssa Yallop had a run-out at the brush skinny before the water with Invictus.

    “I’ve had him since he was four years old, and I mean until last year we were amazed if I even did an intermediate, so the fact he’s done four-star this season has just been the dream. This season he has just come on and decided he will be an event horse!

    “The course actually rode really well. That distance is long at the fence before the water and he is quite short striding.

    “In hindsight I think if I’d actually slowed him down, got a really deep shot in, he could have just bunny hopped the skinny. I’m an amateur, he’s a baby so [to be here and] just learn is a great experience.”

    Brazil’s Marcio Carvalho Jorge and Lovelocks Rumplestiltskin also had a run-out ahead of the water and at the ditch combination at 14ABC.

    Marcio said he was delighted with the horse, as this is a big step up for him, explaining those questions just caught him by surprise.

    “I was not expecting a run-out as he is normally good at skinnies, but he finished happy,” he said. “It’s a big track for the young horses.”

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