Piggy March rises to second in Bicton CCI4*-L on ‘real game little girl’ after eventful cross-country *H&H Plus*

  • Find out what Piggy March said about Vanir Kamira and how Nicola Wilson reacted to initially being given 15 penalties for missing a flag

    Piggy March has moved up to second in the CCI4*-L after the Bicton Horse Trials cross-country, at this event supported by Chedington.

    Piggy and Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira put in one of only six cross-country rounds inside the time from the 78 starters to move up from seventh after dressage.

    “She’s such a little tiger – she’s brilliant,” said Piggy of the 2019 Badminton winner. “I actually felt quite emotional when I finished. She’s done nothing for 18 months, been picked up and put down and I wasn’t even that keen to come here, dropping back down a level, but then I walked the course and it was tailor made for her. She’s all heart, all grit and a real game little girl.”

    Piggy withdrew the less experienced Brookfield Quality, who was fourth after dressage.

    The top five on the new leaderboard all went clear inside the time.

    Dressage leader Nicola Wilson retains top spot with Jo and James Lambert and Deirdre Johnston’s JL Dublin, although there were a few tense moments before 15 penalties for missing a flag at the corner at 24a were removed.

    “It took me by complete surprise when the flag went because he felt completely straight,” said Nicola.

    “I think they’ve done an amazing job on the course – when I saw it, I couldn’t help but be excited. I couldn’t wait to get going.”

    Ros Canter has moved up from 13th after dressage to third on Michele Saul’s Lordships Graffalo.

    After her first ride this morning on Pencos Crown Jewel, who now lies 14th, Ros said: “It’s just intense – at Bramham, the let-up fences come off long gallops where you’ve got time to keep coming. Here, your let-up fences come at the bottom of the hill, at the top of the hill or on an angle. There isn’t a fence that you can just keep rolling on at.”

    Gemma Tattersall put in two clears in the time, moving up to fourth on Santiago Bay and 10th on Chilli Knight.

    “I was very nervous beforehand, but I try to have self belief and I know Chilli Knight is an exceptional horse,” said Gemma. “I say jump and he says ok; he’s a yes man. I can’t speak highly enough of Santiago Bay either, she’s brave, fast and clever.”

    A clear in the time moved Kirsty Chabert and Classic VI up to fifth, while 2.8 time-faults dropped Laura Collett and Mr Bass from second after dressage to sixth. Laura said she lost time setting up for the final combination at fences 23 and 24ab.

    Bicton Horse Trials cross-country: an influential course

    Helen West’s cross-country track caused plenty of problems, with 60% of starters finishing and 37% of them going clear.

    The most influential fences included the double of Offset Brushes on a single stride at fences 9 and 10, where numerous horses ran out at the second element. The usually reliable cross-country horse Ivar Gooden had his first of three run-outs here with Imogen Murray.

    Fence 21ab, the Clinton Devon Drop to Skinny, also caused faults. Most problems came when horses ran out of the narrow fence after the drop, a fate that befell Ros Canter’s second horse, Rehy Royal Diamond, among any others. Chris Burton had a strange fall near the end of the section when Leopard’s Action, 13th after dressage, refused the drop and then fell backwards.

    The HTSG complex (fences 23 and 24ab) near the end of the track – a parallel followed by a corner and skinny on bending lines – also claimed notable scalps, including Sarah Bullimore and the experienced five-star horse Reve Du Rouet, who were eighth after dressage. Sarah sits seventh on her other ride, Corouet, who is on the British Olympic eventing reserve nomination list.

    There were also a number of problems at fence 7ab, the tree stump followed by a curving line to a trunk corner, and a smattering at fence 12ab, the Chedington Complex, a parallel to corner.

    The Chedington CCI4*L class concludes with the final horse inspection and showjumping tomorrow.

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