Mixed fortunes for early riders on Bramham cross-country, with one inside the time and several falls

  • Tom Carlile holds the early lead after the first two hours of Bramham Horse Trials cross-country in the CCI4*-L competition.

    The French rider piloted Darmagnac De Beliard round Ian Stark’s cross-country course to finish four seconds over the 10min 28sec optimum time, one of the fastest rounds of the day so far.

    “I was really chuffed with the ride Darmagnac gave me,” said Tom.

    “He was bred by my good owner SCEA De Beliard and co-owned by them and Jean Jacques Montagne, so he’s a horse I’ve had since the beginning and I’ve been waiting with patience to be able to bring him to such events and show his class and he was cracking today.”

    Tom and the nine-year-old Darmagnac De Beliard were sixth after dressage and should be well up the leader board at the end of today’s Bramham Horse Trials cross-country action.

    The early riders signalled that Ian Stark’s cross-country course is jumpable, but that the time is tight.

    Pathfinder Susie Berry had a good round on Monbeg By Design, who just looked to tire a little as he came to the penultimate combination, the Land Rover Above and Beyond (fence 22ab).

    The Irish rider steered him home safely to finish with 8.8 time-faults, which was the fastest round until New Zealand’s James Avery, the sixth competitor to start, finished with 4.4 time-penalties on One Of A Kind II.

    The ninth pair out, Alexander Whewall and Ellfield Voyager, then came home with just 1.2 time-faults, despite the horse looking quite keen at the start of the course.

    Ros Canter was the second rider out on course, with Rehy Royal Diamond (ninth after dressage), and they had a smooth round to finish with 12.4 time-faults.

    There has only been one round inside the time so far, from Andrew James on Michelle Harries’ Celtic Morning Star.

    “He was absolutely amazing and it’s really emotional because I rode his mother as well – his owners bred him for me and this is their first home-bred,” said Andrew.

    “We took a few strides out here and there and I felt I was riding on the buckle end sometimes, but I was just trying to keep the contact and impulsion. He just tried his heart out. I’ve him all the way through and our bond is amazing.”

    Early falls on Bramham Horse Trials cross-country

    There was an early hold of about 20 minutes when Ventura De La Chaule JRA, the ride of Japan’s Toshiyuki Tanaka, had to be put down after an accident at the second part of fence 7ab, the Bramham Leap. This consists of a triple brush arrowhead, followed by two long strides to a narrow hedge over a ditch.

    US competitor Grace Taylor also had a fall. She had to ride Game Changer strongly to get into the Suregrow Kidney Ponds at fence 11abc and he then crumpled on landing at the next water, the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond at 18abcd.

    A further hold of around 20 minutes ensued when French rider Stanislas de Zuchowicz, the 14th rider out, fell at fence two with Covadys De Triaval.

    Once the action re-started, Mary Edmundson fell off Lionel II when he hesitated in the air over fence 7b and put down on the fence, landing awkwardly. Christopher Whittle (Skip Mill) and Ireland’s Sian Coleman (Hush A Bye Baby) have also been eliminated for falls.

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