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Overnight cross-country leader, Cilla Perchard, held her nerve to take the 80cm title at the Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championship at Keysoe in Bedfordshire today (29 May).

She didn’t have a fence in hand riding Inga Edinburgh’s Urgo, but a smooth clear round secured them victory.

“It was very close and I was so nervous,” said Cilla who made the 15 hour journey from her base on Jersey worthwhile. “I held my breath all the way to the end.”

Urgo, a 14-year-old warmblood by Negro, was a catch ride for Cilla, after his usual rider and owner, Inga Edinburgh, a friend and client of Cilla’s fell pregnant.

“Urgo only started jumping a couple of years ago and we’ve had very limited outings together. He’s doesn’t always jump clear so I’m very pleased with him,” said Cilla, who runs a livery yard.

“I’ve had a fantastic team helping me this weekend, with Sarah Bullimore [an international four-star event rider] helping me warm up every day,” explained Cilla, who has based herself with Sarah since arriving at Keysoe on Tuesday.

Sarah was heard saying to Cilla that she was “very happy to bathe in her reflective glory!” after her performance this week.

Cilla was also seventh on her other ride Just Badger and they now prepare to leave Sarah’s yard at 4am tomorrow morning in order to catch a 9am ferry back to Jersey.

“I think riding my other horse first definitely helped — he is the equivalent to a pair of comfy, old slippers and going around the course beforehand enabled me to establish the exact lines I would ride on Urgo,” said Cilla who hopes to return to this championship next year to give the 90cm class a go.

Second place went to 12-year-old Honor Gordon.

Don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound for a full report from the Horse & Hound Grassroots Eventing Championships