Brit leads Bramham under-25s after cross-country: ‘We’ve worked out the system now’

  • Britain’s Emma Thomas, 24, has moved up to lead the under-25 class after adding 3.2 time-faults over the Defender Bramham Horse Trials cross-country course.

    Riding Pippa Williams and Rebecca Velarde’s 13-year-old The Buzz Factor, Emma rose from sixth after dressage to take top spot.

    “I was very, very pleased with him. He felt really smooth all the way round and made a good job of everything. He hasn’t always been the best at long format, but I really feel that we’ve worked out the system now,” said Emma, explaining The Buzz Factor has benefited from the experience she has now gained on her other ride here, Icarus X.

    “Buzz has been my first horse – I had him at five and we went up the levels together. So it has been the blind leading the blind, with his inexperience and mine, and he’s been very, very forgiving. But having had the other horse, who’s very brave, I think I’m now much more confident in the way I ride.”

    US rider Cassie Sanger now holds the runner-up spot, having had 6.4 time-faults on Fernhill Zoro and Britain’s Isabel White is third on her own Icarus. She incurred 12.4 time-faults.

    Five of the nine starters in this class jumped clear. In addition to the top three, Tom Bird (Cowling Hot Gossip) sits fourth after 8.8 time-faults and Cassie’s first ride Redfield Fyre holds fifth with 13.2 time-penalties. Tom is putting in a second good Bramham performance as he was second in this class last year on Rebel Rhyme.

    Bramham Horse Trials cross-country: problems on course

    Irish dressage leader Molly Evans (Wellan Graffiti) picked up 20 penalties at the second element of the Speedi-Beet Double (fence 20ab), a triple brush arrowhead off a left-hand downhill turn from an oxer out of trees, but went on to complete with just 6.8 time-penalties.

    France’s Johann Riem was second after dressage on Chronos Dujo, but picked up 20 penalties at the Rail, Ditch, Rail at fence 9abc and then a further 20 at the Joules Leap of Faith at fence 13, where he then retired.

    Emma Thomas retired her second horse, Icarus Z, on the Bramham Horse Trials cross-country course. He was 18th at Burghley Horse Trials last year but looked a little over enthusiastic today.

    “Obviously he’s a genius but today he slightly boiled over,” she said. “He was held at the start which doesn’t always help him, but I think the main problem was I put a back strap on his bit and instead of giving me more brakes, it actually just locked me out from his mouth. He’s strong always, but he was numb today so I pulled up.”

    Saffron Cresswell and Vivendi Hero fell on the landing side of the second part of the Speedi-Beet Double (fence 20ab), resulting in a hold of around 30 minutes.

    A statement from the event tonight said she was immediately attended to by the onsite medical team and was transferred by road ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary for further assessment. She is comfortable and talking to her family.

    Vivendi Hero was taken back to the stable area by the courtesy ambulance after being checked by the veterinary team and is uninjured.

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