The pair, who represented Britain at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the European Championships at Strzegom in 2017, completed on their impressive first-phase mark of 21.6.
“She pinged round the showjumping 2ft above each fence and was so with me, and she felt amazing across country,” said Gemma. “This was her first time at this level since the Strzegom Europeans, when she suffered a collapsed larynx two minutes from the end of the cross-country and still kept galloping. She had a wind operation, and then a little leg injury kept her out for most of last year, and it was fantastic to have her back and feeling so good here.”
Laura Collett, who endured the disappointment of a stop across country on Chatsworth Event Rider Masters winner London 52 in the CCI4*-L, took second place in this class on Dacapo. They completed on their dressage score of 23.2.
“He’s been a different horse here to the way he felt at Tattersalls last week [when they retired across country],” said Laura. “He never felt like wavering or stopping today.”
Emily King and Brookleigh took third place, just adding 0.4 of a showjumping time-fault to their dressage of 23.6. The 17-year-old gelding suffered a severe leg injury at Badminton in 2016, and Emily was thrilled to be back at a major competition with him.
She said: “He feels amazing – so happy and enthusiastic; he’s been bucking and squealing around the place. He means the world to me and we’ll stick to short-format four-stars and Event Rider Masters competitions now – I’ll pick the right track and ground for him.”
Find out how riders got on tackling Ian Stark’s challenging CCI4*-L cross-country course
Nicola Wilson received a huge cheer as the highest placed Yorkshire rider, fourth on JL Dublin on a dressage score of 25.1. Ben Hobday was fifth on Shadow Man II and Flora Harris was sixth with Amazing VIII – both completed on their dressage scores.
There were 52 clear rounds from 82 starters in this class, with 66 completions and 21 clears inside the time allowed.
Of the leading group after showjumping this morning, only Hector Payne, seventh at that stage on Top Biats, dropped totally out of contention. They were eliminated for three refusals across country.
Stay up to date with the latest news from Bramham here on Horseandhound.co.uk across the weekend, and don’t miss further analysis and insight into where the classes were won and lost in next Thursday’s Horse & Hound magazine (13 June).