Reigning champs hold lead at Bramham

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Bramham CCI3*  leaders William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning.
Bramham CCI3* leaders William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning. © Mike Bain

Reigning champions William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning lead the Equi-Trek CCI3* at Bramham after an eventful cross country day.

William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning.
William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning. © Nigel Goddard, KSDigital Photography

Twelve combinations were eliminated on the cross-country, including fourth-placed Zara Phillips and Lord Lauries, and five retired on course. Two starters withdrew before the phase.

Fox-Pitt has a pole in hand over second-placed rider Mark Todd on Leonidas II going into the jumping phase. An assured dressage left Fox-Pitt  and Chilli Morning in second but when leader Pippa Funnell had a run out at the influencial Speedi-Beet ‘40’ with Or Noir de la Loge, Fox-Pitt’s expertly judged round brought him home seven seconds inside the time.

“He felt good today; really up for it,” Fox-Pitt said.  “After Kentucky, I had a good think about what I need to do as he felt too relaxed, almost too calm.  He prefers to be ridden more positively and punchier, it may not be how I would want to ride, but he’s better; he was a double handful at times today!  He gave me a good ride, all I had to do was make sure it happened.  It was a superb track with a great variety of big bold fences.  Ian gave us some tricky distances to make us think but it was exciting to walk and even so to ride.”

Todd rode the nine year old Leonidas II within just two seconds of the optimum time to move up to second from fifth, and the ever-apparent French challenge held when Mathieu Lemoine climbed from sixth to third with a fast clear with Quickness.

New Zealand’s Craig Nicolai and Just Ironic shot up the leaderboard from 34th to 14th after a clear round inside time. Lucy Jackson and Jonelle Richards were both eliminated, while Caroline Powell retired.

 

Images below © Steph Freeman

Images below © Mike Bain

CIC3* – final results

CIC3* winners Sara Squires and Orto.
CIC3* winners Sara Squires and Orto. © Steph Freeman

In the British Equestrian Federation Trade Association CIC3*, Ian Stark’s cross country challenge certainly provided a shake-up of the leader board with two of the top three failing to complete. Leader Mark Todd retired with Regent Lad, and Janine Jansen was eliminated on Velocity II.

Sara Squires and Orto.
Sara Squires and Orto. © Nigel Goddard, KSDigital Photography

Just six combinations went clear inside the time on the cross-country.

Sara Squires rose to the challenge with an immaculate double clear inside the time with Nick and Jackie Budd’s Orto.  Squires, who gave up a career in nursing to ride full time, described her ride as a ‘write off’, as the Budds purchased the horse with soundness issues for their son to compete in tetrathlons. But Orto he proved to be a star and Squires took the ride on in 2010.  This was their maiden win.

“I didn’t expect this – I only came here to earn a qualification!”   Squires said. “He’s usually good and fast cross country and today he looked after me; straight all the way and amazing. I hate to wait all day when I ride; I took the opportunity to have a sleep in the sun and had a little watch to check distances.  He’s not the most straightforward horse and has lots of problems, he suffers from ulcers, is stressy and a shiverer but all came good this weekend.”

Pippa Funnell, buoyed by the news of her husband Will’s fourth place success at the Global Champions Tour round in London, rode Carol Toliver’s experienced Mirage D’Elle into runners-up spot with an imacculate double clear while Clarke Johnstone showed clear rounds win prizes when he rocketed ten places up the leaderboard by finishing on his dressage score of 50.4 with Incognito III.

Badminton winner Jonathan Paget and Shady Grey added 20 penalties to their dressage score to slide from eighth to 24th.

But Paget still had praise for the horse, saying he had been “very good on a tough track”. Four retired, eight were eliminated and two withdrawn during the cross country phase.

 

Images below © Mike Bain

 

Dani Evans and Raphael II.
Dani Evans and Raphael II. © Mike Bain

CCI3* under-25

The top two remain unchanged in the Bishop Burton College u25 CCI3* with faultless performances by leader Dani Evans and Raphael II and runner up Tom McEwen with Diesel, who finished bang on the optimum time of 10.37.

Georgie Spence, who was third after dressage, had to take a long route at the Bond Dickinson Pond when WII Limbo jumped boldly, thus earning them 7.6 time penalties in an otherwise faultless performance.

This brought Laura Collett into the top three with Phillip Walker’s Allora 3 when they came home spot on the time to rise from fifth.

A delighted leader Dani Evans said: “I had a really good ride except a scary moment at the corner (fence 20) when he added an extra stride by mistake!

“But he was good with his feet, really careful.  It gave us a wake up which then meant he was great through the water (fence 22).  I didn’t know he could gallop like this!”

The run at the top for Kiwi Jesse Campbell, who had been fourth after the dressage, came to a wet end when he and Kaapachino parted company towards the end of the course.

“We had a wonderful ride for three quarters of the way round but got undone by the last water – thankfully it was a sunny day so the water wasn’t too cold,” he said.

 

Images below © Mike Bain

Images below © Steph Freeman

Dani Evans and Raphael II.
Dani Evans and Raphael II. © Nigel Goddard, KSDigital Photography
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