Bramham fairytale is over for Piggy March and Nicola Wilson’s ride Coolparks Sarco: ‘Nicola will be proud of him’

  • Dressage leaders Piggy March and Coolparks Sarco had 20 jumping penalties on the Bramham Horse Trials cross-country course to relinquish their top spot in the CCI4*-L class.

    It was the end of a potential fairytale Bramham result, with Piggy standing in on Jo and James Lambert’s horse for the injured Nicola Wilson, whose name is so associated with her local event at Bramham.

    Piggy and “Jeremy” were having a super round until the Speedi-Beat Double Feat at fences 19ab. They jumped the airy oxer coming out of the trees, but the canter became a little unbalanced in the five strides on a downhill left-hand curve to the triple brush oxer and Coolparks Sarco ran out. They finished the course with 5.6 time-faults.

    “I’m relieved he’s home in one piece and he was actually great,” said Piggy. “I had a good ride really – I kept giving him a pat and saying, ‘Good boy, well tried’ as it was a bit unknown for both of us.

    “I don’t really know what happened. In some ways you’re a little bit disappointed, because he gave me such a good ride and made it feel so easy, but at the same time I’m not at all because this is an unknown, he would have come on loads from this, we’ve learnt a lot and it was a massive test for him and for us.

    “I don’t think there would have been anything I’d have done differently if I had to do it again. I came up the hill and thought to him, ‘Come on, one more really good question’ and did sort of get hold of him to try and make it happen. He’s a very powerful jumper and jumped the rails very big and was just disunited through the turn and wasn’t on a true canter lead. So he could have just been off balance rather than off the pace and the stride, which felt like it was right.

    “And also, bless him, he’s got someone completely different on him, different tack, different everything and it could have just been one little question too many.”

    Piggy added that Coolparks Sarco felt full of running, proving her worries about his stamina were unfounded.

    “That was a worry for me not having had him long and he’s a chunky type, you wonder if he’s got the blood and the gallop, but he really did. He felt like he had loads coming home and I don’t think the time would have been an issue.”

    Piggy said there had been a lot of cheers for Coolparks Sarco on the way round and Nicola will be proud of him.

    “It shows a lot of love for Nic and all her support round here, so it was a special day and he’s back in one piece, which is great,” said Piggy, who said she will speak to Nicola tonight and plans to visit her once the competition is over.

    Piggy’s penalties mean Izzy Taylor, with her own and Mark Sartori’s Monkeying Around, will hold the lead overnight in this class.

    Around the time of Piggy’s round it was announced that the optimum time had been changed to 10min 31sec (three seconds more than the original 10min 28sec) to account for the extra distance covered by those who went after fence 7ab, the Bramham Leap, was removed from the competition. This means Izzy Taylor’s original 2.4 time-faults have been reduced to 1.2 time-penalties.

    There are just a few competitors still to start in the CCI4*-L class and then the rising stars in the under-25 CCI4*-L will take on the Bramham Horse Trials cross-country challenge.

    Heidi Coy has already been out on course in the under-25 class, starting out of order on Russal Z because she has two rides. She had 11 jumping penalties for breaking a frangible at the second white gate at The Equi-Trek Spinney (fence 13b) where Russal Z appeared not to sight the fence until the moment of take off.

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