British rider Pippa Funnell leads the CCI3* after two days of dressage at the Bramham International Horse trials, overtaking French rider Maxime Livio and Cathar de Gamel who held the lead for most of the phase.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event which regularly attracts more than 50,000 visitors to Bramham Park on the edge of Leeds.
Funnell, riding Or Noir de la Loge., scored 40.6 to take the lead, and a few horses later it was the turn of last year’s winners, William Fox-Pitt and Christopher and Lisa Stone’s Chilli Morning. They looked in good harmony but split the judges’ opinions to end on 43.6, just three marks adrift.
Maxime Livio and Cathar de Gamel are now in third on 44.4, ahead of Britain’s Zara Phillips and Lord Lauries in fourth on 45.6, and New Zealand’s Mark Todd and Leonidas II in fifth with 48.8.
On the first day Ground Jury chairman Giulio Pocci from Italy was impressed with Livio and Sandillion CIC3* winner Cathar de Gamel, awarding them nearly 75%, the highest mark of the day across the two evening sections. Livio said: “I’m not completely surprised at the dressage score as he always the same in the dressage; he really concentrates. I rode with a lot of activity as my trainer said the British judges would like it. I’m really happy to prove today that he can be a top horse in the dressage.”
Lord Lauries’ test was soft and flowing, and was rewarded by the judges, in particular Gill Makey-Harfield who gave the combination 71.2%, her highest score of the day.
The CIC3* was the first section to be completed and all morning it looked as though the result would remain unchanged from the previous day as no-one could quite pull that magic score out of the hat to overtake Britain’s Janine Jansen and Velocity II (43.4).
But Mark Todd with NZB Regent Lad produced a great performance which nearly went sub 40 but just missed out on an overall percentage of 72.93%, equating to 40.6.
Todd said: “He’s a nice little horse and always does a good test. A big arena like this doesn’t faze him; in fact, it brings out the best in him. I’m looking to sell him really as I think he’d make a great junior or young rider horse – he’s really a bit small for me! We’ll see how he goes round tomorrow.”
French rider Donatien Schauly, a double winner at Bramham in 2010, was the penultimate competitor and he was going great guns but the final score of 46.6 was not quite enough to overtake the first day leaders.
Sitting in eighth is Badminton winner Jonathan Paget, riding and Shady Grey.
Bristol rider Dani Evans is on top in the Bishop Burton u25 CCI3* with the big moving Raphael II, who make their CCI3* debut. All judges gave them scores over 70% to end on 40.4, just under three points better than second placed Tom McEwen. Tom’s partner was his own Diesel and they have good previous form at this level having finished 15th at Blenheim CCI3*. Third place went to Georgie Spence riding WII Limbo on a score of 47.4.
New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino also put in a solid performance in the CCI3* under 25s, and are sitting in fourth spot on 48.4.
“I am delighted with Kappachino,” Campbell said. “I made a few small mistakes at the start of the test and it was hard to get the marks back later.”
On Saturday 82 horses will set out on Ian Stark’s CCI course, while 55 CIC horses will tackle Di Boddy’s show jumping track in the Equi-Trek arena before heading cross country. The competition gets under way at 9am with the CIC show jumping and the first CCI horse goes across the country at 9:15, with Gemma Tattersall and Arctic Soul the pathfinders.
• In Bramham’s trot2 Event Horse Breeding and Youngstock classes, Ros Croft’s yearling filly Grace was declared supreme champion with two year old colt Call Me Mr Harding, owned by Sarah Milnes, was reserve.
Pictures below © Mike Bain
Pictures below © Steph Freeman