Britain in pole position as a former winner joins the podium: significant top-10 shake-up as Luhmühlen dressage concludes

  • Britain’s Bubby Upton and Cannavaro have retained their first-day lead at the top of the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials dressage results.

    The pair head into tomorrow’s cross-country on a score of 24.9 and have four seconds in hand over the US combination of Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus (26.7), who remain in provisional second.

    Two-time Luhmühlen Horse Trials five-star champion Tim Price and his Tokyo Olympic ride Vitali were the highest-placed combination on the second day of dressage. The New Zealand combination are in third place after the first phase on 27.1.

    “He’s a talented horse. For me it felt like he wasn’t fully concentrating everywhere, but he still does a nice job,” said Tim, who co-owns the 12-year-old gelding with Alexander and Joseph Giannamore. “It’s probably better to be hunting than to be in the front and make a stupid decision; we will just quietly chip away.

    “This is the first time he has had an atmosphere since Tokyo and maybe it hits them a bit differently than when they are a bit more seasoned. He was definitely a juvenile last year and everything was a bit overwhelming. It’s about building them into a five-star horse that knows the job, goes through the motions and becomes consistent.”

    Tim also holds 13th place with Spartaco (31.4), who is also contesting his first five-star this week.

    While Bubby and Lauren remained secure in their positions atop the Luhmühlen Horse trials dressage results, Friday’s competitors have delivered a significant shake-up to the rest of the top 10.

    Switzerland’s Felix Vogg and his Tokyo Olympic and 2018 World Championship ride Colero, owned by Vogg Jürgen, flowing test was rewarded with a mark of 29, putting them in provisional fourth ahead of cross-country.

    “It could have been a little bit better,” said Felix, adding he has been a little edgy in the walk here over the past couple of days. “Usually he is really calm. I don’t even do arena familiarisation because he is so quiet.”

    The 14-year-old gelding comes to Lumühlen off the back of a CCI4*-S win at Baborowko in Poland three weeks ago.

    “It’s a big stadium, but it’s not the same atmosphere as here,” he added.

    “He’s a little bit special. Like, like they all are. When he first came he was really spooky, really difficult with everything, and he still is. He has his person, Claudia Weber – she was in Tokyo. She owns Kentucky Horsewear, but she still comes to help sometimes. He just loves her.”

    Liz Halliday-Sharp added to the strong US performances this week, slotting into provisional fifth with the Monster Partnership’s 2022 Kentucky CCI4*-S winner Cooley Quicksilver. Liz’s bond and understanding of this talented grey 11-year-old, known affectionately as “Monster”, has been central to their success.

    “He’s a weird, wonderful, wiggly animal, which makes him not very easy to ride on the flat to be honest, because his body parts are going in 25 different directions at once. But that makes him an athlete, too,” said Liz, adding he was “pretty feral” when she first acquired him as a five-year-old.

    “He tried really hard in there and this is his best result at five-star to date. I’m happy to get into 20s. I think there’s an even bigger mark there for him.

    “He’s very bendy and very sort of goofy and quirky. He’s always trying to second guess me so I have to ride him very carefully in the ring, but he is definitely improving. This was a far better test than he did in Pau and he’s definitely grown up a lot this year, which is exciting because he always he always fights for me.”

    Oliver Townend and Tom McEwen join Tim as five-star winning riders each with a brace of horses stepping up to this level this week.

    Oliver and Dreamliner, the penultimate pair into the arena on Friday afternoon, showed stunning canter work to crack the 30 barrier. The combination were the best of the Brits in action on day two and are in provisional sixth on a score of 29.6.

    Angela Chamberlayne’s homebred, who she co-owns with Mark Chamberlayne, scored a nine for his collected canter and a strong helping of eights for his flying changes, which are so influential in this five-star test.

    Sophie Leube, Germany’s sole home-side competitor in this class, impressed on her first start at this level with a harmonious test on her own Jadore Moi. This athletic mare was another to reap high scores for her canter work, putting them in seventh place overnight on 30.6.

    “I’m very happy with her, I’m a bit sad about the one flying change [we missed], because those are normally her strength and she is very secure in them, but I was very happy with the rest,” said Sophie.

    “She’s a great mare, she’s the best horse I’ve ever had. She is very sensitive and can be very excited, but we know each other very well now and we are a good team. She can be very hot and she knows what she wants, and what she doesn’t want, but she fights for me.”

    Austria’s Lea Siegl is in eighth ahead of the jumping phases on Harald Siegl’s Cupido P (30.8), with British riders filling the next four places.

    Fiona Kashel, who made her five-star debut at Badminton in May aboard Creevagh Silver De Haar, produced an impressive performance on WSF Carthago, owned by Frank Breach. The pair are in equal ninth overnight with Tom McEwen and Bob Chaplin, owned by Fred and Penny Barker, on 30.9. Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI are in 11th (31.1) and Kylie Roddy and SRS Kan Do, who rerouted to Luhmühlen after pulling up on the cross-country at Badminton after losing a shoe, are in 12th on 31.4.

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