World champion wins Blair Castle CCI4*-S with Europeans’ reserve ride

  • Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo demonstrated their class when winning the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials CCI4*-S.

    Ros and the nine-year-old gelding, owned by Michele Saul, took the lead in the dressage on Thursday and maintained this position throughout. The pair jumped clear in both phases, collecting 0.4 time-penalties in the showjumping and 0.8 in the cross-country to finish on 26.4. Frenchman Astier Nicolas was second on Babylon De Gamma with Emily King and Valmy Biats finishing third.

    “He’s such an incredible horse,” Ros told H&H. “I often feel like I find it hard to go fast across-country but that horse makes me feel like I ride well across-country. He’s got such amazing balance on these hills, you could gallop down a hill and feel completely in control.

    “There was plenty to jump here. Particularly because of the short format, you were straight in at the deep end here. You didn’t have that minute or two to settle them. It was just bang, bang, bang, like every short format is – but here you’ve got the terrain to contend with as well. It’s over before you’ve blinked.”

    Astier, who took this class in 2019 with Babylon De Gamma, was delighted with his own 10-year-old gelding.

    “He’s even more fantastic,” he said. “Now I think he can do dressage. I always thought he was a good jumper but dressage was not so easy. He’s improved a lot.”

    Emily King said Viamy Biats, owned by the Event Horse Owners Syndicate, was the “best he’s ever felt”.

    “We went quick, but know there were a few times I could have kept galloping right up to the fence and sat up a bit later. But it’s nice to know that he was speedy, but he could be still much quicker,” she told H&H.

    “The terrain is tough, but it needs to be. When you do your Badmintons or Burghleys, you have a feel of how the horse’s stamina is. If they gallop easy round this, they are quite likely to be horses that will stay at Badminton or Burghley, which is what we’re wanting to do.”

    Yasmin Ingham who was in second with Banzai Du Loir after dressage picked up 0.4 time-penalties in the showjumping and 8.8 time in the cross-country to finish in fourth on 36.8. Third after the dressage Selina Milnes and Iron IV had four-faults showjumping and 0.4 time penalties. The pair jumped clear across-country but collected 12.8 time, to finish on 45.4.

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