New Blenheim heroine crowned following flawless performance from start to finish: ‘It’s the best day ever!’

  • Yasmin Ingham wrote her name into the Blenheim Horse Trials history books with a flawless performance from start to finish to secure the CCI4*-L title Banzai Du Loir.

    The 24-year-old grasped the 2021 crown with a copy-book showjumping round in front of packed stands on the final day (19 September).

    “That is the most pressurised situation I’ve ever been in in my life and I just couldn’t be more grateful to be sat on such an incredible horse going into this final phase,” said Yasmin.

    “He just gave me his all and just tried so hard for me. It’s the best day ever!”

    The trophy – a new one presented by the Event Horse Owners Association, with funds raised through member donations – was Yasmin’s to lose. She went into the ring with four seconds in hand – no more – and a rail would have dropped her to fourth.

    But for the third time this week, the young rider showed a level of skill and maturity that rightly cemented her place at the top of the leaderboard. She may have credited luck being “on her side”, but Yasmin’s victory here was no fluke.

    “I know that I’ve put my work in at home and I feel confident coming into the competition that I’ve done all I can to try and produce my best result. I think everything that has gone into this horse from day one has just worked up to a day like this,” she said.

    The horse, owned by Janette Davies and Sue Chinn, was bought with the 2024 Paris Olympics in mind and won the temporarily relocated eight- and nine-year-old championships at Burnham Market in 2020.

    “I’m just so proud of him; I want him to have the recognition he deserves,” she added.

    Tight at the top in Blenheim Horse Trials CCI4*-L

    Less than a fence separated the top 10 ahead of the influential showjumping phase, meaning any rolled poles were going to be costly.

    Piggy March and Brookfield Quality, second overnight, lowered the middle upright in the treble at fence 10, dropping them to fifth. This left the door open for Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo, owned by Michele Saul, to move up to second place in the final standings.

    Ros and the scopey nine-year-old British-bred gelding (Grafenstolz x Rock King) stopped the clock one second over the time allowed of 76 seconds, to finish on a total of 27.1.

    “He gets better and better with every run,” said Ros, adding she was also “delighted” for Yasmin.

    “She’s become quite a good friend of mine. We’ve travelled to Pau twice together with our mothers, just having a really nice ‘family’ time. She deserves every inch of this – she’s a fantastic girl, so good on her.”

    Ireland’s Susie Berry was the highest placed international rider, finishing on her dressage score of 27.9 to take third on John The Bull, owned by Helen Caton.

    Her result here with John The Bull was an emotional moment following a tough year.

    “To me, this year, this really meant a lot,” said Susie, who broke her arm in a fall in April and spoke openly of her struggle with getting back in the “right frame of mind” after a difficult spell this season.

    “We’ve had a bit of a rocky road this year and I’m so happy to finally get a bit of a decent result. I’m thrilled with the horse he deserves it, every day of the week.

    “The only pressure [I felt today] is probably the pressure that I put on myself. Because he is such a good jumper, it would be my fault if we were to have a pole. He’s just incredible. I didn’t have the perfect ride round, I was a bit free to a few and he was like, ‘Mummy, I’ve got it. Don’t worry – I’m on it’.”

    Gemma Tattersall and Jalapeno also finished on their dressage score 28.7 to take fourth, as did Helen Witchell and My Ernie, who climbed from 14th to take sixth.

    A double jumping clear, with 1.2 showjumping time-faults, by Heidi Coy and Russal Z resulted in a seventh-place finish for the Blenheim first-timer (31.8), while a pole at the Jockey Club oxer at fence six pushed Pippa Funnell from seventh to eighth.

    An expensive two rails, at the orange dragon oxer at three and the final part of the treble at 10c, were costly for Emily King and Valmy Biats. The pair held fourth place overnight, dropping to 15th in the final standings.

    Tom McEwen (Bob Chaplin) and Oliver Townend (Swallow Springs) took ninth and 10th place respectively.

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