Nicola Wilson wins Bicton CCI4*-L: ‘He’ll often squeal in the warm-up, but he was focused today’ *H&H Plus*

  • Find out how Nicola Wilson reacted to winning the CCI4*-L and what Gemma Tattersall said about the course

    Nicola Wilson won the CCI4*-L in the Bicton Horse Trials showjumping, as the event supported by Chedington finishes today (13 June).

    Nicola went into the final phase as the Chedington CCI4*-L overnight leader and piloted JL Dublin, owned by Jamie and Jo Lambert and Deirdre Johnston, to a solid clear.

    Victory in this massive class was a huge achievement for a rising equine star of the sport, among a field that included a five-star winner and runner-up. But still, there was something ironic in Nicola’s win – she has striven for many years to take the showcase class at her local event at Bramham, which relocated here to Devon this year as a one-off due to Covid.

    “I know – he was just ready, wasn’t he?” said Nicola. “But much as it would have been amazing to have been in this position at Bramham on our doorstep, the whole team at Bicton here have done the most wonderful job – the setting, the arenas, the cross-country course.”

    Nicola had a busy morning as she had to go across country on Bulana in the CCI4*-S before showjumping Erano M and JL Dublin.

    She said: “By the time I’d charged round the cross-country course on Bulana, who’s always very keen, and then quickly changed into my showjumping kit, I didn’t really have time to think about anything other than where the fences were.

    “He felt super – he gets very excited with the jumping, he’ll often do quite a bit of squealing in the warm-up, but today he was very focused. I thought, ‘Gosh Dublin, what’s going on here?’ I sensed today might be the day and he went in there and was truly amazing.”

    Ros Canter took second on Michele Saul’s Lordships Graffalo, moving up from third after cross-country. Only nine years old, he was extremely impressive in this last phase – and all weekend.

    “He still feels green sometimes in his jump in the warm-up, so I’m fairly open minded about him, but in his last three or four runs at this level, he’s started to feel really careful and he would like to be a careful horse,” said Ros.

    “He came out this morning bucking and squealing and he loves the job. Of course he’ll have a break now, but he doesn’t feel like he’s run round a 10-minute cross country, so it’s really exciting.”

    Gemma Tattersall’s clear on Caroline Teltsch’s Santiago Bay also elevated her a place to third, while her fault-free round on Chilli Knight gave her a second horse in the top 10 in seventh.

    Gemma had aimed to take both horses to Luhmühlen Horse Trials before the German travel ban prevented that and she decided to come to Bicton.

    “I knew the cross-country was going to be tough and influential, so to be sat on two five-star horses yesterday, I was definitely riding the right ponies,” she said.

    Gemma, who does a lot of pure showjumping, praised Jamie Perryman’s Bicton Horse Trials showjumping track: “I thought it was brilliant — Jamie’s done a great job. He had some real thinking lines. There was an oxer with an open seven strides to a wall and then a triple bar with a closed seven strides to a double of verticals. That’s clever course designing and it made us all think a little bit, and that’s really great for event riders.”

    Piggy March went into this final phase in second with Trevor Dickens’ 2019 Badminton winner Vanir Kamira, but 16 faults – at the last part of the treble at fence 6, the wall at fence eight and both parts of the double at 10 – sent her tumbling down to 15th.

    Kirsty Chabert (Classic VI), Laura Collett (Mr Bass) and Sarah Bullimore (Corouet) all jumped clear to rise one place, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth. William Fox-Pitt’s two down on Grafennacht, at the second part of the combination at six and the final upright at 12, dropped him from eighth to 10th.

    Ros’s second ride Pencos Crown Jewel landed ninth and Tom Jackson took eighth on Capels Hollow Drift, with both horses jumping clear today.

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