Clark storms into Blenheim lead for USA

At the end of two days of dressage, America’s Clark Montgomery has taken the lead in the CCI3* at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.
UK-based Clark piloted Loughan Glen, owned by Holly Becker and Kathryn Kraft, into the lead on a score of 33.8. The combination were thrid at Blenheim two years ago and it is the horse Clark hopes to take the Olympics in Rio next year.
 
Afterwards he said: “He usually starts to die on me as the test goes on and on, and he did that to me a little today. But he still did a fairly decent job. He loves Blenheim, he loves the track going in this direction so it seemed like a perfect year to come back and give it another crack.”
 
Overnight leader Sandra Auffarth and Ipos now sit in second place going into the cross country tomorrow – 3.4 penalties adrift of Clark.
 
Pippa Funnell, part of the Great British Silver medal winning team at Blair Castle last week, slipped into third place on Billy The Bizz, a former show jumper bred by The Billy Stud and owned by Carol Toliver. She said: “He has come through the grades pretty quick but he is a lovely little horse and I’m really excited to see how he goes. Blenheim is one of my favourite events – it’s a really privilege to be here.”
 
In the CIC3* for eight and nine year olds, last year’s winner of the class Jonelle Price retained her lead on Cloud Dancer II. But Frenchman Asteir Nicolas has slipped into second place on Spes Addit Or, a 17hh gelding owned by Helen and Paul Fearn. He sits 6.2 penalties behind the New Zealander going into the show jumping. 
 
China’s Alex Hua Tian remains in third on Don Geniro. Of his the horse he said: “We’re really excited about his future, he is a super horse. His first run at a three star event was an eye opener for everybody – we all knew he was a special horse but he really produced the goods under pressure at Barbury. But even that wasn’t his best work. He is a horse that oozes scope so over the next few years he’ll get stronger and stronger.”
Francis Whittington remains the highest place British rider in the eight and nine year old class. He lies in ninth place on Cavalier Venture.
 
Tomorrow’s action sees the CCI3* riders tackle the Eric Winter designed cross country course, which he describes as a a course which will prepare horses and riders for a four star test, whilst the CIC3* competitors take to the show jumping arena. 
 
Top 10 standings CCI3* (after two days of dressage)
1. Clark Montgomery, Loughan Glen (USA). 33.8
2. Sandra Auffarth, Ipso (GER), 37.2 
3. Pippa Funnell, Billy The Bizz, 39.3
4. Dani Evans, Raphael II, 40.2 
5. Franky Reid Warrilow, Dolley Whisper, 40.6
6. Andrew Hoy, Cheeky Calimbo (AUS), 40.7 
7. Piggy French, Obos Cooley, 41.9 
8. Christopher Burton, Nobilis 18 (AUS), 42.0 
9. Tim Price, The Court Jester (NZL), 42.2
10. William Fox-Pitt, Cool Mountain, 43.3 
 
Top 10 standings CIC3* 8/9 Year Old (after two days of dressage)
1. Jonelle Price, Cloud Dance II (NZL), 33.2 
2. Astier Nicolas. Spes Addit Or (FRA), 39.4
3. Alex Hua Tian, Don Geniro (CHN), 40.6
4. Christopher Burton, Monarchs Exclusive (AUS), 41.9
5. Caroline Powell, Up Up and Away (NZL), 43.0
6 Jonty Evans, Cooley Rorkes Drift (IRE), 43.8 
7. Sidney Dufresne, Tresor Mail (FRA). 44.1 
8. Fraser Duffy, Fernhill Revalation (IRE), 44.6 
9. Francis Whittington, Cavalier Venture, 44.9
10. Geoff Curran, River Derg (IRE), 46.1

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