The former special needs teacher, who only started riding full time in 2009, stayed on her ninth-placed dressage score of 47.8 to take the class on Nick and Jackie Budd’s Orto.
“I came here for a qualification and the top 10 would have been really good,” said Sara. “But he’s the best horse I’ve sat on cross-country, as long as I do my job.”
Pippa Funnell was second on Carole Toliver’s Mirage D’Elle, who has four-star mileage.
“It was a very different ride to doing the CCI on Or Noir De La Loge,” said Pippa, who was pleased with the younger horse even though she lost her dressage lead with a stop. “I really enjoyed riding my second horse — it’s amazing how much you can trust the more experienced ones.”
New Zealand’s Clarke Johnstone took third with Incognito III, who is coming back from injury.
“I wasn’t too worried [seeing the problems on the cross-country] as he’s very experienced. He’s got a small stride so you have to be quite positive, but he’s really honest and easy,” said Clarke.
Dressage leader Mark Todd showjumped clear on NZB Regent Lad, but the grey stopped at the rail into the Woodheads Seed Hollow at fence 10/11ab.
“He wasn’t going from the word go, so maybe he’s a bit jarred up,” said Mark. “It’s not like him to stop at something like that.”
Log back on for final reports on the CCI classes tomorrow. Full report on Bramham in H&H next Thursday (13 June).