Madeleine Hill keeps us to date with today's action from the grade Ib and grade III classes at the La Prairie Racecourse in Normandy
Lee Pearson and Zion scored 77.138% to win the grade Ib championship putting him back on top of the world.
“I feel elated, after not going to the Europeans, and putting my trust in this horse, and getting other people’s trust in this horse. I’ve had lots of support from friends and family and he’s just an amazing horse. I had a tough time in London and a tough time the past couple of years, so to come back on a different horse and to win is just amazing. ”
Lee beat his great rival, Austria’s Pepo Puch, by a safe two per cent. He rode a very fluent test with consistent cadence throughout which really showed off Zion’s lovely rhythmical trot. Having ridden early in the class, Lee had to be patient before his championship win was declared.
“Pepo went before me and I watched his test,” explained Lee. “I thought it was an absolutely beautiful test, but he had a bad transition and perhaps was not always engaged enough. I thought that’s a beatable score. Watching him gave me confidence.”
Lee was thrilled with his horse’s performance even before he knew he had won. After his test, he said: “What a horse! He gives me everything. He stayed really relaxed today. He was still aware of the arena, but warmed up perfectly, long loose and round, and when I asked for some engagement we got that big loose trot that he offers. His walk was really strong today too.”
British individual Ricky Balshaw was disappointed to come 7th, although it means he still goes through to the freestyle on LJT Enggaards Solitaire on Friday, and he’s hoping for a stronger performance then. “It’s just one of those things, he nearly had me off before we went in, but hopefully he’ll settle. Just got to go back and work on things.”
The talented German rider Hannelore Brenner won the Grade lll championship on her chestnut Hannoverian mare Women of the World.
“She was wonderful today, so good, she really wanted to win,” said Hanna, “She really is a championship horse, when she comes into the arena she just grows.”
Hanna, a former event rider, before she had an accident in 1986, just beat the Dutch rider Sanne Voets on Vedet PB N.O.P. by less than one per cent. That’s the closest the gap has ever been between the two.
Sanne intends to keep chasing her rival and catch up with her – preferably in the freestyle later this week. “Last year we won the silver in Herning but the difference between me and Hanna was quite big, but I am getting closer all the time,” she said.