“I came out thinking there was definitely more work to be done in certain areas – it’s still an experience for him with the crowds and atmosphere, so for him to go in there and produce that sort of test, I’m just delighted. I’m really shocked and surprised, to be honest,” said Yasmin, who scored 25.2.
“It’s really exciting for the future to have such a brilliant score and then more room for improvement. He’s a lovely horse with so much potential and I just feel very lucky to be riding him.”
Yasmin admitted there is pressure in riding such a promising mount, who was bought by her loyal owners, Sue Davies and Janette Chinn, specifically as a potential horse for the 2024 Olympics.
She explained: “It’s a huge amount of pressure. When you’re sat on a brilliant horse, you don’t want to let him down, so I kind of feel all the time a little bit under pressure, especially with his owners Sue and Janette watching – I want to do a really good job for them and I want to do a good job for the horse as well because he deserves it.
“I think this is the most exciting horse I’ve ever had the privilege of riding. He was bought with a very long goal of Paris, so I’m really excited that we’re hopefully on track to be up there in the mix with the top ones.”
Yasmin and Banzai won the eight- and nine-year-old class last year, when it was held at Burnham Market because Covid-19 led to Blenheim being cancelled. This is the rider’s first time competing in the long format class at Blenheim, now being run by The Jockey Club.
“You can’t really get much of a better backdrop than Blenheim Palace and it’s just an amazing job that The Jockey Club have done. Them taking over the event is super exciting for the future of the sport,” said Yasmin.
Piggy March rode just before Yasmin and now sits second, just 0.6 of a penalty behind. Her mount is the 12-year-old Brookfield Quality, owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn.
“He did a very nice test – he’s nice to ride on the flat,” she said. “He didn’t make a big mistake, he tried hard. There were moments that I thought could have been a little bit more freely forward going – he felt like he shrank a little bit and still wanted me to hold his hand, but he delivered a nice test. It’s his first time getting in an atmosphere with people again, so on the whole, we’re pleased.
“It’s a big week all week here for him, so we’ll tick each box as we get by and keep going through the week.”
This will be Brookfield Quality’s first time tackling a four-star long cross-country course as he was withdrawn after dressage in the class at Burnham Market last autumn and Bicton Horse Trials in June.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.