Britain’s second individual rider Sarah Bullimore and her home-bred Corouet breezed round clear for just 0.8 time-faults to post yet another brilliant round for the Brits at the European Eventing Championships cross-country.
The diminutive chestnut, who is owned by the rider, her husband Brett and the Kew Jumping Syndicate, was a perfect match for this sinuous track. He fairly skipped round to stop the clock just two seconds outside the time. Some of the riders are having to nurse their horses home, but Corouet was absolutely pinging at the end, bounding round for fun.
“He was amazing, he made it feel like a Pony Club track – all those huge, wide fences, they’re actually wider than the length of my little horse, but he flew over,” Sarah said. “He must have been a foot above everything. He was a bit fresh to set off, and that’s where my couple of seconds came off, but he was awesome the whole way round.
Sarah took the long route, like the other Brits, at fence 6 to 7, just for safety’s sake as it was so early on.
“Then I saved a few seconds at fence 24, and he was really quick on the tight lines,” she said. “It was frustrating but I can probably cope with 0.8.
“I have to admit to being fairly terrified this morning and making a cock-up somewhere. Having taken 10 years to finally get here, I just thought if I make a cock-up today it will take me another 10 years to get back – I don’t think I can keep going that long!”
Sarah had produced an outstanding personal best in the dressage phase of 22.8, and holds at least fifth place going ahead to showjumping.
European Eventing Championships cross-country: not all plain sailing
The first tranche of riders had largely jumped clear with some of the top horses making the track look straightforward, but there was more trouble afoot in this mid-section. Ireland’s Joseph Murphy and Poland’s Malgorata Korycka were eliminated after falling on the flat at a dirt crossing halfway round, while The Netherlands’ Sanne De Yong had an awkward jump when coming too fast at the Crazy Corner at 9b and missed a flag. Sanne continued but were later eliminated as the horse was not deemed to have jumped the fence.
Belgium’s Laura Loge and Absolut Allegro decided to retire after the horse misread the triple brush three from home. The horse landed on the fence and looked a little sore but walked away.
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