Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent were rewarded for their spotless showjumping clear round to climb to the top of the provisional Blenheim Horse Trials young horse CCI4*-S results after the overnight leaders were eliminated.
Tom McEwen and MHS Brown Jack (pictured, top), who headed the standings after dressage on a score of 24.6, cantered into the showjumping with a lead of 0.1 of a penalty over Oliver and this grey mare.
But Tom and the nine-year-old gelding, owned by Fred and Penny Barker, left their luck at fence one. MHS Brown Jack rubbed the first – a multi-coloured oxer jumping towards the palace – which remained in place. After that, five rails fell, resulting in an uncharacteristic 20 showjumping penalties for this big Obos Quality 004 son.
Under FEI rules, competitors with 20 or more jumping penalties over the coloured poles are eliminated, in classes where the showjumping comes before the cross-country. This means that MHS Brown Jacks’ 2023 Blenheim journey ends here.
Oliver and Cooley Rosalent, a Valent daughter who is owned by Paul Ridgeon, had produced the best test on the second day of dressage to sit second behind Tom in the Blenheim Horse Trials young horse CCI4*-S results ahead of the showjumping.
Piggy March and Brookfield Future News, who had been equal second with Oliver and the grey mare after dressage, jumped a smart clear just adding 0.8 of a showjumping time-penalty to their first phase score to remain in touch on 25.5. Piggy and the eight-year-old gelding, owned by Alison Swinburn, and John and Chloe Perry, head into the cross-country with their position on the leaderboard unchanged.
While Mark McGowan’s showjumping course has ruffled the standings, there remains little breathing room at the top ahead of cross-country. Just 10 penalties separate the top 36 competitors.
New Zealand world number two Tim Price has three exciting prospects in this class, which has a long history of throwing out future five-star and championship heroes. He has climbed two places with the flashy chestnut Jarillow, owned by Clifton Eventers, Shaun and Lucy Allison, and Rachel and James Good, to sit provisional third in the Blenheim Horse Trials results after showjumping.
The nine-year-old made light work of the course, breezing across the influential track with his ears pricked and giving the coloured fences plenty of air. His stablemate, Chio 20, tipped the first rail of the treble to drop from fourth to provisional sixth.
Clear rounds were few and far between in the early stages, with the final element of the red and green treble in front of the grandstands at 10c keeping the arena party particularly busy. Heidi Coy and Clonshire On Trend scored the first fault-free round of the day.
The dressage scores were so tightly packed in this competitive 95-strong class that any faults proved highly costly – and clear rounds were well rewarded.
Caroline Harris and D. Day have risen from 10th to provisional fourth, with Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon and DHI Jackpot leaping from 14th to fifth thanks to their stellar clears.
Notable clear-round climbers include Selina Milnes and Cooley Snapchat (29.4), Olympic champion Julia Krajewski aboard Nickel 21 (29.5), US rider Hallie Coon with 2021 seven-year-old world champion Cute Girl (29.5) and Gemma Stevens on Ophelie Van Prinseveld (29.7). They fill seventh to 10th in the Blenheim Horse Trials provisional results after showjumping.
Storm Straker and Fever Pitch, Jutopia (piloted by Australia’s Sammi Birch), and Quidam De Lux, ridden by Stephen Heal, who were in provisional sixth, seventh and ninth respectively, each rolled a pole to drop to 13th, 17th, and 27th ahead of cross-country.
The cross-country CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-old horses takes place tomorrow (Sunday, 16 September).
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