‘I can’t believe it’: Luhmühlen first-timer leads the way after dressage

Japanese rider Kazuma Tomoto has made a strong start to his first ever Longines Luhmühlen CCI5*-L Horse Trials campaign, leading the way after the first phase. Riding the Japan Racing Association’s 11-year-old Brookpark Vikenti, Kazuma (pictured top) posted a score of 25.2.

“I can’t believe I’m in the lead,” said Kazuma, who has been based with William Fox-Pitt for two years. “My horse is a really good mover, but he can be very sharp and tense, so it’s my job to keep him relaxed, and thankfully he stayed settled.”

New Zealand’s Tim Price is in second on the grey mare, Ascona M, who is owned by Suzanne Houchin, Lucy and Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela, with a score of 25.8.

“I am very glad my horse performed the way she did,” said Tim, who’s wife Jonelle won this class last year. “I didn’t want to risk too much and she could have been a little more uphill, but she was concentrating on the job so I am pleased.”

Five-star first-timer and mum of two boys under the age of four, Frances (Frankie) Thieriot Stutes from the USA, is third with The Chatwin Group’s 11-year-old, Chatwin. They scored 28.8.

“‘Chat’ is my only horse and this is my first trip over the pond,” said Frankie, who runs a sports marketing company specialising in equestrian athletes alongside a luxury handbag business.

“We were meant to do our first five-star at Kentucky, but he had a tiny injury two weeks before, so thanks to me being the lucky recipient of the Rebecca Broussard International Developing Riders Grant, which includes a plane ticket to fly a horse to Europe to compete, I was able to re-route here.

“I feel so lucky to ride Chat — I’ve had him since he was five and I can trust him in the arena,” explained Frankie. “I tried to take a moment to take everything in. I actually ran out of time in my warm-up, so didn’t manage to do any flying-changes before I went in, which is probably why we fluffed one of them, but he was wonderful.”

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin

Best of the Brits is Alex Bragg, who is in fourth with Zagreb on 29.7. Germany’s Andreas Dibowski (FRH Butts Avedon) is fifth on 30.5, while Sam Griffiths and former Badminton winner Paulank Brockagh are sixth on 30.9. Sam Ecroyd is the next best Brit in eighth with Wodan III (31.5), Sarah Bullimore is ninth with Conpierre (31.7) and Tom McEwen is 10th with Figaro van het Broekxhof (32.3).

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The cross-country gets underway at 9.15am (BST). Full course pictures of the five-star track will be available on horseandhound.co.uk shortly.

Don’t miss the full report from Luhmühlen in the 20 June issue of Horse & Hound magazine

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