Dressage leader holds top spot following her Bicton cross-country round, after nervous wait over a flag penalty *H&H Plus*

  • Find out who has put in the two clears inside the time and which are proving to be the most influential fences

    Nicola Wilson retains her overnight lead in the CCI4*-L at the halfway point of the Bicton Horse Trials cross-country, at the event supported by Chedington, but her score was in doubt for a while as officials reviewed 15 penalties for missing a flag.

    These 15 penalties were picked up at the corner at fence 24a in the HTSG complex and would have push her well down the leaderboard on JL Dublin, owned by James and Jo Lambert and Deirdre Johnston. But now that they have been removed, Nicola will remain at the head of the leaderboard going into tomorrow’s showjumping.

    Nicola finished inside the 10 minute 8 second optimum time, the first person to do so.

    “This is a lovely, lovely, lovely course to ride around – it was beautifully built,” said Nicola after her first round this morning on Erano M. “Obviously Bramham is on the doorstep for me and I’m really disappointed not to be at Bramham, but this is an outstanding venue.”

    Laura Collett sits in second, having finished with 2.8 time-faults on Mr Bass.

    Laura took the direct route through the influential rail-ditch-corner at fence 15abcd and was initially given 15 penalties for missing a flag, but this was soon removed after her round on her own, Keith Scott and Nick How’s horse.

    Sarah Bullimore (Corouet) is currently third and William Fox-Pitt (Grafennacht) fourth, with both having matched Mr Bass’s 2.8 time-faults.

    Gemma Tattersall put in the second clear in the time on Chris Stone’s Chilli Knight – finishing 27 seconds inside the target – and has piloted herself up the leaderboard. She currently has the fifth best score of the finishers.

    No one can go ahead of Nicola Wilson, assuming her 15 penalties are not reinstated, but plenty of pairs can overtake Laura, Sarah, William and Gemma if they put in fast rounds over Helen West’s track.

    Pippa Funnell, third after dressage on Billy Walk On, had 8.8 time-penalties and so has dropped down the order.

    So far, there are two particularly influential fences. The Offset Brushes at fences nine and 10, out of the second water, have caught out a number of riders including Bill Levett (Lates Quin) and Simon Grieve (Mr Fahrenheit).

    The Clinton Devon Drop to Skinny is also causing a number of problems, with most riders tackling the direct route despite the late addition of a black flag alternative at the narrow fence after the drop. Those who have run out here include Nicky Hill (MGH Bingo Boy) and Nini French (Time For Harry).

    The Course Designers Conundrum at fence 15, a rail-ditch-brush corner, was much discussed before today, but many of the riders are opting to take the slower long route at this complex and it has not caused many faults.

    You might also be interested in: