New Zealand eventer Lucy Jackson has bagged the biggest win of her career to date, taking out the CCI4*-S Event Riders Masters Millstreet leg in Ireland at the weekend.
Jackson’s exceptional 26.4 dressage score on Superstition had put her into equal fourth place overnight and a clear showjumping round bumped her up into third. But it was a lightning-fast clear round across country that allowed her to take the win, aided by the withdrawal of leader Oliver Townend.
Although she didn’t deliver one of the three clear rounds inside the time, Jackson added just two seconds to the 6:05 optimum time, allowing her to take the win by a 0.3 penalty margin.
“I’ve never been on the top spot of a podium, and I can’t tell you how good it feels – it’s absolutely fantastic,” said Jackson, who made her first podium appearance when finishing third at the ERM opening leg at Chatsworth with Superstition this spring.
“It’s huge pressure having a point-to-point rider as an other half,” she said with a laugh. “The whole way around I was thinking, ‘don’t be slow – don’t be slow!’ I’m not known for being fast, but the little horse is a superstar.”
The enormous influence of the tight time allowed Sam Watson and Imperial Sky to take second place for the home nation. They delivered a 27.5 first-phase mark and were one of only two combinations to finish on their dressage score, catapulting them from seventh place to the podium after Watson romped home exactly on the optimum time.
Alex Bragg and Zagreb raced away from a tough week as the only other combination to finish on their dressage score to climb from ninth to third. They were only the second combination of the day to make the cross-country time, after Chris Burton and Graf Liberty, who also sailed home comfortably within the optimum time.