‘One of the best in the world’: British rider wins phenomenal second five-star of 2023

  • Ros Canter has rounded off an incredible year with another five-star win when she topped the Pau Horse Trials results with Izilot DHI.

    “He’s an amazing horse, one of the best in the world I think,” said Ros.

    Ros and 10-year-old Izilot DHI, who she owns with Alex Moody, could afford one fence as they entered the arena – but it was not needed. They brought home the goods, with a clear jumping round that collected just 1.2 time-penalties, to finish the competition on 28.7.

    Ros Canter and Izilot DHI have topped the Pau Horse Trials results 2023

    Ros Canter and Izilot DHI.

    “I don’t think it’s really sunk in,” said Ros, who has produced Isaac since he was a five-year-old.

    “We didn’t really come here thinking about winning this competition. It’s Isaac’s first five-star and he’s only 10 years old, and as you could see in the showjumping he’s quite a spooky, nervous horse. I think it will take a while to settle him, so we just wanted to give him a nice experience.

    “Every occasion for him is a big one so I couldn’t be happier. Even six months ago this probably would have been a step too far for him, so I’m unbelievably proud of him. It makes all the hard work at home worthwhile.”

    Ros has openly spoken in the past about the belief she has in Issac’s talent – and also his spookiness.

    “We’ve had a few hairy moments at home, particularly in the winter with him and I get a little bit nervous and I have to call upon the help of all my members of staff to help keep me on the straight and narrow,” she said, adding that she has had help with the horse from Ian and Amy Woodhead, Caroline Moore, and Chris Bartle.

    “It’s definitely a team process here. And there has been hours and hours gone into this horse, so it is great that he’s been able to reward us with this.”

    Ros who won Badminton in May with Lordships Graffalo, and then became European champion with him in August, said it has been an “amazing” year – and credited her mum for her support.

    “My mum is unbelievable, she works so hard. She’s just a farmer from Louth, and I’m just her daughter. We love horses and we’ve managed to achieve this,” she said.

    “A huge amount of it is down to her, and particularly now I’ve had [my daughter] Ziggy, my part in this story is riding the horses. There are many other people doing the other jobs for me to enable me to have my daughter and be the mum I want to be, as well as ride, and it’s really working. It’s just an amazing journey.”

    When asked whether Isaac is now in contention for Paris 2024, Ros said the main focus is getting selected first.

    “I’ve got him and Lordships Graffalo, and it would be amazing to get there with one of them,” she said.

    Pau Horse Trials results: three Brits on podium

    Brits held the top seven going into the showjumping, but there was a reshuffle of the standings when Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI, who were in third, had two fences, which dropped them to sixth.

    Tom McEwen and JL Dublin knocked the first part of the treble combination at fence 7a, which dropped them into third place – while Oliver Townend’s cool and composed clear with Tregilder pushed the pair up to second.

    “I’m just so so proud of the horse,” said Oliver. “He is probably the most genuine horse there is. When you look down the list of some of the horses that he’s beaten, there were absolute superstars in there you’d never dream of beating on most horses.

    “For Tregilder, who is 18hh and has to put in a lot of effort, it’s a dream come true. He’s another top-class five-star horse. We’ve had him since he was four, and produced him all the way through and I’m just incredibly proud for the team at home and the Hazledines’ who own him.”

    Following his cross-country round yesterday (29 October) Oliver had described Tregilder as an “unlucky” horse owing to the fall they had a few fences from home at Burghley in 2022, and then their retirement this year when their rein snapped.

    “If he can be second in a five-star and be unlucky, then we’ll settle for that,” smiled Oliver.

    Looking ahead to next year, Oliver said “it looks exciting”, adding that his success this season couldn’t be done without his team people him. “Whatever people say, the horses keep coming out again and again and again and producing five-star results, it’s quite amazing.”

    Despite their unlucky fence, Tom said it had been a great weekend with JL Dublin.

    “We just had a relaxed pole down, which was a shame to a very nice round,” said Tom. “But we came to do what we needed to do, and he’s been fantastic. We’re looking forward to next year with him.”

    France’s Maxime Livio and Carouzo Bois Marotin finished best of the home side in the Pau Horse Trials results, in ninth.

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