British rider moves up to lead Bramham under-25s after cross-country – despite riding with severe knee injury

  • Britain’s Phoebe Locke has moved up from second after dressage to take the lead after the Bramham Horse Trials cross-country for the British Horse Feeds under-25 CCI4*-L.

    The 22-year-old rider had a super round on Bellagio Declyange. She was very determined jumping into the Womble Bond Dickinson Ponds (fence 18abcd), where the chestnut threw a huge jump and Phoebe lost her stirrups. But she hung on and steered through the next three elements of the combination with no stirrup, finishing the course comfortably inside the optimum time.

    Phoebe said: “I’m basically going round with one leg because I did the ACL in my right knee last November. I need reconstructive surgery but this has always been the aim so I wanted to get this out the way and then sort it – I’m having an operation on Monday.

    “It’s pretty painful, walking the course is probably the worst. I know it probably affects my performance in the saddle – if I get unbalanced I’m unlikely to stay on, but I was very determined today when I lost my stirrups.”

    Phoebe added that she has worked on Bellagio Declyange’s fitness this year after he struggled at Bicton last year. She has had help from her boyfriend Jamie Insole, who is assistant trainer to Charlie Hills, and they have used a water treadmill as well as Charlie and Alan King’s gallops.

    “He’s an incredible horse and he was still full of running at the end,” she said.

    Dressage leader Alex Holman took one long route on the Bramham Horse Trials cross-country, at the Rail, Ditch, Rail at fence 9abc and brought Carrick Diamond Bard home with 2.4 time-faults to drop to fourth overnight.

    “He’s 10 and it’s our first four-star long, so regardless of being in the lead, which was an added bonus, I just wanted him to have a good run,” said Alex.

    “I knew straight away on my first course walk that I wasn’t going to jump the Rail, Ditch, Rail on the direct route – I wanted him to have a confident trip and knowing him, I wouldn’t have got him in the balance I wanted.”

    French riders hold the other two podium places, with Morgane Euriat finishing one second over the time to sit in second on Baccarat D Argonne. Héloïse Le Guern’s clear in the time on Canakine Du Sudre Z elevated her one spot to third.

    French rider Julie Simonet, who was fifth after dressage on Sursumcord’Or, had a fall at fence 17, the Equine America UK Bedstead table, where Ailsa Wates and Woodlands Persuasion also parted company.

    Harry Mutch also lost his sixth place overnight when he fell from HD Bronze. The pair ended up very close to the hedge oxer which was the middle element of the Suregrow Kidney Ponds (fence 11abc) and HD Bronze landed steeply, tipping Harry off to the left.

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