World number one, riders out to make amends and five-star first-timers among large entry for Pau

  • The Pau Horse Trials entries look particularly strong this year, with 62 horses set to contest the final five-star of the year (26-29 October).

    Twenty-three of these are piloted by British riders, with the challenge led by world number one Ros Canter. Ros has two horses in the mix – Kate James and Annie Makin’s Pencos Crown Jewel, who tipped Ros off at Burghley Horse Trials in September but has strong five-star form prior to that, and the Blenheim Horse Trials winner Izilot DHI. The talented but tricky 10-year-old “Isaac” – owned by his rider and Alex Moody – is making his five-star debut.

    Pippa Funnell has a pair of contenders too. She will look to make amends for having to pull up the Walkinshaws’ Billy Walk On at Blenheim and has been considering how to improve his focus at three-day events since. Pippa also has a five-star first-timer among her Pau Horse Trials entries in Sarah Ross’s Bramham Horse Trials winner MCS Maverick.

    Meanwhile Piggy March brings forward two horses who make their debut at this level, in Bramham runner-up Brookfield Cavalier Cruise (owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn) and the former Nicola Wilson ride Coolparks Sarco (owned by Jo and James Lambert), who won Millstreet CCI4*-L earlier this year.

    Tom McEwen – a former Pau winner – is also slated to start on a high-profile former Nicola Wilson charge, JL Dublin. The pair parted company at the European Championships in August, but have had a couple of good one-day event runs since. “Dubs” belongs to the Lamberts and Deirdre Johnston.

    Oliver Towend will bid for his first Pau win on Tregilder, owned by the Hazeldines and Mitchell Fox Group. This pair were desperately unlucky at Burghley when a rein broke during their cross-country round and Oliver had to retire.

    Pau will mark an interesting return to five-star for the Fox Family’s SRS Kan Do – who was 11th here in 2021 and sixth at Luhmühlen Horse Trials in 2022, but has had some time away from competition. He is ridden by Kylie Roddy.

    Among those riders making a five-star debut here is former young rider and junior team gold medallist Isabella Innes Ker, who will ride Benjamin Chan, Milly Soames and Roxburghe Eventing’s Highway.

    Away from the British challenge, the home side’s Gaspard Maksud is set for his first five-star start. His partner is Jane Young and Martin Thurlow’s Zaragoza, with whom he has been in the top eight at two championships and was on the French bronze medal-winning team at the Europeans this year.

    Austria’s Lea Siegl, who has impressed with her championship performances over the past couple of years, will aim for a first five-star completion with her Tokyo Olympic partner, DSP Fighting Line, owned by Marianne Mühlböck.

    For Ireland, Austin O’Connor is entered on the syndicate-owned Colorado Blue, third at Badminton Horse Trials this year. But he is also on the list for Maryland 5 Star the week before, so he will have to choose where he runs the grey as he tries to make amends for an early run-out at Burghley.

    The New Zealand challenge is headed by the Prices, with two horses apiece. Jonelle Price brings forward relatively new ride Hiarado and the seasoned McClaren, both owned by David and Karie Thomson, while Tim Price has two five-star first-timers in Happy Boy (owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller) and Viscount Viktor (owned by Barbara Cooper, Glynn Norcutt and Ginny Rusher).

    Four riders make the trip from the US for Pau, including the vastly experienced combination of Phillip Dutton and Z, who belongs to Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Thomas Tierney, David and Patricia Vos and Phillip’s wife Evie.

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