Rising sun, rising star: Bramham winner holds Japan’s hopes for Tokyo 2020

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Bramham CCI3* winner Yoshiaki Oiwa and Calle 44 on the cross-country.
Bramham CCI3* winner Yoshiaki Oiwa and Calle 44 on the cross-country. © Mike Bain

Japan has given notice of its intentions for the next Olympic Games, on home ground in Tokyo in 2020, after shutting out eventing’s big names from the top placings at the weekend’s Equi-Trek CCI3* Bramham Horse Trials. 

Yoshiaki Oiwa with the spoils after winning the Bramham CCI3* on Calle 44. © Mike Bain
Yoshiaki Oiwa with the spoils after winning the Bramham CCI3* on Calle 44. © Mike Bain

Yoshiaki Oiwa produced a faultless display with his Holstein-bred Calle 44 to claim the 2017 title, after lying in third place after the first two phases. His countryman, Toshiyuki Tanaka, placed fourth on Talma D Allou.

Oiwa had some pressure relieved when the two riders below him, defending champion Andrew Nicholson and Nicola Wilson, had 12 and eight faults respectively, dropping them out of contention. Riding in a beautiful rhythm, Oiwa guided the 10-year-round the final jumping phase, leaving him on 45.4 penalties.

Gloucestershire’s Sammi Birch (Australia) had no room for error aboard Hunter Valley II, but lowered one rail to move them behind Oiwa.

The final combination in, Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V, had the lead but the mare, who had never previously faulted in a three day event, didn’t quite make the extensive spread of the triple bar and hit the back rail. They also added one time fault, giving victory to Oiwa.

It was a historic win as Oiwa became the first Japanese rider to win a CCI outside Japan, and the first winner from Japan at Bramham.

2nd in the CCI3*: Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V.
2nd in the CCI3*: Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V. © Mike Bain

Oiwa spent his Spring in Britain based and training with Pippa Funnell alongside his girlfriend, who is training with William Funnell with a bid to make the Japanese show jumping team for Tokyo 2020. With Calle 44, Oiwa had a great few months with top 13 placings at Belton and Burnham Market CIC2* and Chatsworth CIC3* last month. Bramham was the last event before he and Calle return to Germany to train with Dirk Schrade. The pairing competed at Bramham last year and finished 30th.

“I wanted to be competitive but winning wasn’t planned! He’s really careful showjumping, but sometimes a bit too careful XC!” Oiwa said.

He hopes his win, along with fourth spot for compatriot Toshiyuki Tanaka and Talma D Allou, will inspire other riders in Japan to dream big and train hard.

3rd CCI3*: Sammi Birch and Hunter Valley II.
3rd CCI3*: Sammi Birch and Hunter Valley II. © Mike Bain

Tattersall said she was “absolutely gutted” at faulting in the jumping. She said the horse was as surprised as anyone to have a jump down. “It’s her first showjumping fault at a CCI before. But it’s still second at Bramham, I’ll just have to come back next year! It was a seriously tough track today, one of the toughest I’ve seen at a recent three day, big oxers, The time was doable, I shouldn’t have got a time fault.”

French rider Sebastien Cavaillon, who fell on the cross-country, has had the first of two operations to mend damage to his pelvic area and is expected to make a full recovery. His horse, Sarah D’Argouges, was uninjured.

CIC3* winners Izzy Taylor and Trevidden.
CIC3* winners Izzy Taylor and Trevidden. © Mike Bain

CIC 3*

It was all change at the top after a tricky showjumping course on Saturday and influential cross country kept all the riders on their toes and audiences captivated in the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3*.

It was a fantastic win for Great Britain’s Izzy Taylor, who was thrilled with Patricia Turner’s Trevidden, a 12-year-old by Fleetwater Opposition. “I haven’t even had him for a year yet but he’s proving to be a great cross-country horse, he’s tough and did a super double clear today. The time was tight, with not many galloping stretches, but it suited my horse who is fast and you just need to get on and go!”

There was movement on the leaderboard after the showjumping, a twisty course in the morning downpour left many adding faults onto their dressage score.

2nd: Paul Tapner and Yogi Bear VIII. 
2nd: Paul Tapner and Yogi Bear VIII. © Mike Bain

Though kinder than the intense CCI3* course of the morning, Ian Stark’s cross-country course was still ‘fast and furious’. The most influential fence on the course was the combination at 12, the Hollow, a rail with a steep slope down to a coffin back up to a brush arrowhead, which left some grinding to a halt at part A and many taking the longer route.

With a flying round, the USA’s Tiana Coudray managed to sneak inside the time, eventually proving to be the fastest of the day, and flew up the leaderboard from 19th to the top. This inspired speed queen, Izzy Taylor, and despite a sticky moment at the Carter Jonas moon fence when Trevidden left a leg, she rode in her usual quick style to secure the second clear inside the time of the class and take the lead. Many within the top ten rode confident clear rounds but added too many time faults to stay in contention – including leader Flora Harris who, despite kicking for the finish, added 9.2 time penalties to move down to fourth place.

3rd: Tim Price and Cekatinka. © Mike Bain
3rd: Tim Price and Cekatinka. © Mike Bain

Paul Tapner had a rollercoaster of a day by his own admission, with his dressage leader Prince Mayo unfortunately retiring on course. But Tapner was thrilled to take second place on the experienced Yogi Bear VIII, whom he said saved the day for him. “He’s a three star specialist and once I got the clear in the showjumping I knew I’d be in the money. It was a great result for him.”

New Zealand’s Tim Price was one of the fastest on Cekatinka, adding six time penalties which moved him to third place despite his ride looking a little hesitant at times. “She doesn’t give any more than she needs to, she’s quite calculated like that, but she always keeps going,” said Price of the ten-year-old mare owned by Joanne Pullen. Tim has taken on the ride from his wife Jonelle whilst she prepares to give birth to the couple’s first baby – “I don’t want to give her back! She’s my favourite of the rides I’ve taken on from Jonelle, she reminds me of being a teenager in New Zealand when I first started out eventing – she’s the dark horse of the lot!”.

Under 25 CCI3* champions Will Furlong and Collien P2.
Under 25 CCI3* champions Will Furlong and Collien P2. © Mike Bain

CCI 3* U25

Will Furlong won the Bishop Burton CCI3* U25 on Collien P2 to become Under-25 National Champion.

Furlong had two fences in hand after the cross country and he needed them both after runners-up Gina Ruck and Rehy Too put the pressure on with a fast clear round.

French rider Marie-Caroline Barbier finished fourth overall in the under 25 CCI3* class.
French rider Marie-Caroline Barbier finished fourth overall in the under 25 CCI3* class. © Mike Bain

The tricky showjumping course, designed by Di Boddy, tested the young contenders in this renowned class, where previous winners include France’s Astier Nicolas on Piaf D’Neville in 2012 who are now current Olympic individual silver medallists. Charlotte Bacon and Last Touch, who was third overnight, withdrew before the final horse inspection.

This left two young French riders, Aurelien Leroy and Marie-Caroline Barbier, hot on the tails of the top two. But both knocked down three poles to allow 22-year-old Brit, Alicia Hawker, with six show jumping penalties to move up to third place on Charless RR. Hawker had an incredible rise up the leaderboard from placing 24th after the dressage on 60.6, adding just eight time faults on the cross country phase to go into sixth for the final phase.

Gina Ruck impressed to finish runner-up with her own 15-year-old Rehy Too. Her fast clear round on her horse of a lifetime ‘Prince’ was a highlight of the class which had only three clears.

Purchased from Vere Phillips as a four-year-old, Prince was Ruck’s first horse after representing Great Britain at pony level, winning team gold in 2007.

Furlong could have had two fences down and take the win but not three, and he left the audience on the edge of their seats after rolling two poles and crossing the finish line with one time fault, securing the win on 57.4 penalties with Collien P2, also known as ‘Tinks’ at home.

CCI*** u25 dressage leaders, from left Aurelian Leroy (FRA) second; Emily King (GBR) third; and Thibault Fournier (FRA), in the lead.
CCI*** u25 dressage leaders, from left Aurelian Leroy (FRA) second; Emily King (GBR) third; and Thibault Fournier (FRA), in the lead. © Mike Bain

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