She powered round Ian Stark’s tough cross-country track clear and inside the time aboard Vendredi Biats and, when dressage leaders Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On stopped at fence 13b, Kitty took the top spot.
“I’m delighted – he made it feel really easy,” said Kitty. “I was up on all my minute-markers and didn’t have to chase him.”
Kitty’s score of 26.8 only gives her 0.1 of a penalty in hand over Gemma Tattersall and Jalapeno III, who moved up from third after dressage to second with a faultless round.
“This is our first long-format competition together, and she gave me some feel today,” said Gemma, who took over the ride on Chris and Lisa Stone’s mare from Belgium’s Karin Donckers this season.
Selina Milnes and Iron IV, fifth after dressage on 29.5, added 1.2 cross-country time-faults but still rose to third place.
Thirteen of the 61 CCI4*-L starters added nothing to their dressage scores, and Polly Stockton (Mister Maccondy, fourth), Emily Philp (Fallulah, fifth) and Zara Tindall (Class Affair, sixth) all leapt up nine places from their dressage positions with clean rounds.
Richard Jones and Alfies Clover – another pair looking to make amends for a Badminton that didn’t go to plan – moved up from 17th after dressage to seventh with an immaculate round, and Lucy Jackson similarly soared 10 places up the leaderboard from 18th to eighth with Superstition II.
Thirty-three per cent of the field didn’t pick up jumping penalties, but, as a few riders made the time despite jumping penalties, the percentage of starters inside the time allowed of 10min 44sec was 21% (18 riders). One of those was Pippa Funnell, who made the time on Billy Walk On despite her 20 jumping penalties. Ten riders broke frangible pins, usually at the double of upright white gates at 15ab.
French rider Aurelie Gomez, fourth after the first phase with 27.1 aboard Slamm De La Selune, stopped at the rails of The Question at 4a and broke the pin, and was later eliminated for accumulated refusals.
British Horse Feeds under-25 CCI4*-L
Some of the riders in the under-25 CCI4*-L made rather heavy work of the cross-country track, with only five of the 22 cross-country starters jumping clear. Thirteen of them completed in total.
Yasmin Ingham and Sandman 7, second after dressage with 30.1, are now in the lead after jumping clear inside the time.
The 22-year-old was initially given 20 penalties for missing a flag at the final water, the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond, but successfully appealed the decision.
“When we got there, he was feeling a little bit tired by that stage and just plopped in over the first part, which meant I was a bit ‘off’ the skinny and he just took off – he was very honest – and tipped the flag with his right hind end,” explained Yasmin. “I didn’t think anything of it at the time, and it was amazing to finish inside the time. It was a nasty surprise to see the penalties on my score, and after watching the video and reading the rules about 10 times, I asked for it to be reviewed and it was nice that the ground jury agreed with me.”
Will Rawlin and VIP Vinnie, owned by his parents Andrew and Miranda Rawlin, initially finished the day in first place, but when Yasmin Ingham successfully appealed her 20 penalties, dropped to second. Will’s dressage mark of 30.9 meant he was fourth after dressage, and two cross-country time-penalties elevated him two places.
“I knew that if I was on it, we could be up there with a chance because the horse is very capable,” said Will, who has just turned 25. “I’m trying not to get too carried away. We went clear in the showjumping at Blenheim last year, so I’d like to think we can do the same again, although we wouldn’t want a lot more rain.”
Will bought the Valentino 11-year-old as a four-year-old through his trainer, John Bowen.
“He’s a bit of a character who likes to play to the crowd – he knows he’s good,” said Will.
Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua, part of Ireland’s silver medal-winning team at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, were the only pair apart from Yasmin and Sandman 7 to finish clear and inside the time, moving them up from eighth after dressage to third on 33.7.
Pippa Funnell and Gemma Tattersall are in pole position in the CCI4*-L and CCI4*-S, while Richard Coney leads the under-25
‘He's been a real yard favourite for a long time’
Hector Baker and Leighland Xavier broke a frangible pin and collected 11 penalties as a result, plus eight time-faults, and sit in fourth place.
Sam Ecroyd and Davinci III, third after dressage, were eliminated for a fall at the “coffin” – the Woodheads Seeds View at 8abc.
Dressage leaders Richard Coney and Kananaskis had a refusal at the skinny brush in the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond, dropping them to sixth.
Mollie Summerland, fifth after dressage on Charley Van Ter Heiden, retired across country after her saddle slipped back so far that she deemed it impossible to continue.
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).