Sarah Carless reports ….Ladies day at Bramham
It was ladies’ day at The Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials with all three titles being won by female riders.
Julia Krajewski Chipmunk FRH were the run-away winners in the showcase Equi-Trek CCI3* by a near ten point margin.
The duo were a class act throughout the week but it was a case of third time lucky for the rider as her previous trips to the Yorkshire venue have be less than successful.
Krajewski held a near six penalty lead over Matthieu Vanlandeghem and Trouble Fete ENE HN for France after the dressage with a score of 19.4. And there were a few changes atop the leaderboard after an eventful cross country phase.
Krajewski was faultless over Ian Stark’s 5927 metre test to maintain her lead. “My horse was awesome today!” Julia said.
Matthiew Vanlandeghem dropped down the order from his second place after the dressage with Trouble Fete ENE HN when they clocked up 6.4 time penalties which then opened up the door for his fellow Frenchman Karim-Florent Laghouag riding Entebbe du Hus to take advantage when he was just one second over the time to add 0.4 to his dressage of 25.9 to go second. British combination William Fox-Pitt and Oratorio II, owned by the Oratorio Syndicate, made a three place gain to get on the podium with a fault-free round to finish on their dressage score of 26.7.
Kiwi Andrew Nicholson climbed one place with Diana Ridgeon’s Swallow Springs with 1.6 time penalties to lie fourth while a fast clear promoted Australia’s Bill Levett into the top five riding Lassban Diamond Lift, owned by Elizabeth Murdoch who take their dressage score of 28.2 forward to tomorrow’s show jumping phase.
The show jumping was certainly influential with both the second and third placed riders after cross country, Karim-Florent Laghouag and William Fox-Pitt lowering poles to demote them down the order to fifth and 11th respectively. An earlier clear round from Austrailian Bill Levett riding Elisabeth Murdoch’s Lassban Diamond Lift put them in with a chance of a podium place which was realised when both William and Karim-Laurent faltered. A clear by Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs owned by Diana Ridgeon gave them second place.
Krajewski had a comfortable cushion as she entered the arena but she needed none of her advantage as her ten year old Contendro gelding gave every pole plenty of room for an immaculate clear and the £5,750 first prize and use of an Equi-Trek Sonic horse box for a year.
“When I was walking down I thought it would be really nice if he jumped clear,” Julia reflected. “Today we really hit it on the button and I’m really proud of him today. To finish on such a dressage score with a fit and happy horse is just really, really cool.Obviously I’m delighted; the week couldn’t have been any better for me. I love competing in England – the events are so friendly!”
Andrew said; “He can jump well, but he’s been a bit green with the people in the showjumping in the past, but today he felt more secure and grown up. He’s always been a good horse at every level but like every horse, you have set backs and last year here I fell off him in the last water. This year, he’s come here and made it feel very easy.” said Andrew.
Bill summed his performance up; “He’s a young horse doing his first CCI3* and all three phases have been hugely satisfying; he was so good today. At a one-day event he can be a bit fresh and keen and have a rail, but today he was settled and showed what he can do when he’s relaxed.”
Kitty King and Vendredi Biats were the best of the British finishing in fourth on their dressage score of 29.4.
CCI*** Under 25
Emily King realised a dream as she became the 2018 British Horse Feeds u25 CCI3* champion.
King led from start to finish after squeaking into the lead on the second day of dressage. After her dressage testm which scored 25.5, she said: “I’m over the moon with him! He’s very talented on the flat. As a youngster he was very relaxed and big moving but now he’s knows a bit more, he’s much more jolly! He warmed up beautifully; he was obedient and really listened and felt just like he does at home. The scores are very tight under the new scoring system and the jumping is more influential and this is the biggest three star there is! The ground is perfect; they’ve done an amazing job watering, mowing and aerovating but it’s big, technical and undulating out there. Going later is great as it gives us young ‘uns chance to watch the ‘oldies’ and see how the course is riding!”
King retained her advantage with a speedy and impressive cross country round which was well judged to finish five seconds inside the time.
After her round, Emily commented; “He’s normally very careful, very straight and gallops from the start and we got in a good rhythm. The first few combination fences went very smoothly and then question after question he was really listening to me. I had a really big jump into the first water and only just managed to get him back for the final element. I got held after the hollow and I’ve actually never been held before on course. He felt quite fresh after a break and was full of running the rest of the course. I knew I was up on time before the hold so kept in the same pace when I started again. He’s a very speed little horse and the stop really helped him.”
This gave the final rider of the day Sam Ecroyd a shot at runners up spot if he could go well with Cooley Currency. He grabbed that chance with a great clear bang on the optimum time of 10:24 to end the day on 28.1.
French rider Thibault Fournier and Siniani de Lathus were just one second over the time to climb from sixth to third just 0.6 behind on 28.7. Tom Jackson made a four place gain up the leaderboard with just 2.4 time penalites with Susan Jenkins’s Carpa du Buisson Z while Sam completes the top five with his other ride, Vicki Irlam’s Master Douglas on 32.1.
But It wasn’t to be for American visitor Caroline Martin as she picked up 20 penalites with her first ride, Danger Mouse, at the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond which relegated her down the order from her second spot and on ride two, The Apprentice, she was judged to have jumped outside the flag at part c of the same fence and duly awarded 50 penalites.
Dargun, a ten year old by Valliant, showed no signs of fatigue from his superb effort across the country. As King entered the ring, she knew she couldn’t afford a single pole down as French rider Thibault Fournier had gone clear with Siniani de Lathus to climb to second from third place and pile on the pressure.
It was a heart stopping moment when the duo rattled the first fence but it stayed in place and afterwards they gave every rail space to leave them all standing to finish on the dressage score she posted on Friday, the only rider to do so in the section.
Sam Ecroyd ended up third, but not on the horse he lay second on after cross country, Cooley Currency who unfortunately had the first two parts down in the treble to slip down the order to sixth. But it was Vicki Irlam’s Master Douglas who rose from fifth to third with a clear on a final score of 32.1.
After her win Emily said; “He felt amazing today! When I got on him in the warm-up he was bucking and squealing — it helps him with his spring and attention if he’s a bit jolly. He jumped well in the warm-up and carried that through into the ring. The crowd helps him rather than distracting him and the fences were quite spooky here, which helps too. He jumped consistently and was very focused so I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Tibault followed in saying; ““He’s a really good jumper, but I don’t know him well after a longer cross-country and I was afraid he might be tired and not jump as well as usual, but he was fresh today.”
“I’m really happy with both horses,” declared Sam. “Master Douglas has struggled with dressage but always been a fabulous jumper and he’s had a real ‘rocky road’ of soundness issues. We’ve only had one and a half runs in two years so to come here and do this shows he’s a real special horse. Cooley Currency is still green at this level and coming here I didn’t think he’d even go inside the time across country. It’s a lot for a big horse to go 10 and a half minutes yesterday and then go into a tight treble at the end of a round of 12 fences, that can happen. But I hope the more he does, he’ll get stronger and he won’t have that sort of problem.”
Izzy Taylor took her win in two years in the CIC***, claiming the title with Be Touchable.
Ros Canter held the advantage after the dressage, with No Excuse scoring 24.4. This nudged out local heroine Nicola Wilson with her 2017 European Team gold and Individual bronze partner, Bulana, who had lead since late morning on 25.0 who in turn had taken the lead from William Fox-Pitt, hunting for his 10th Bramham on Fernhill Pimms who set the benchmark of 26.9. And so the podium stayed until the last rider of the class, Izzy Taylor aboard Sophie Dods’ Be Touchable who just missed out on the lead by 0.1 of a penalty with a score of 24.5.
Ros was pleased with her nine year old; she commented; “I’m delighted with him. He’s very talented and tried really hard but I know there’s more to come. I arrived with him this morning so he could spend a bit of extra time in the field, I watched a few tests and warmed him up and he was great. It’s a step up for him here so I’ll be interested to see how he performs.”
The competition proved to be a nail biter right to the very end. Dressage leaders Ros Canter and No Excuse lowered a pole in the show jumping as did second placed Izzy Taylor and Be Touchable which handed the lead to local rider Nicola Wilson and her European team gold medallist Bulana who jumped an immaculate clear. France’s Pau four star winning duo Gwendolen Fer and Romantic Love went into second with a clear round.
Wilson decided to withdraw Bulana as she plans to run at the Luhmuhlen CCI4* in Germany next week with an eye on selection for the World Equestrian Games so Gwendolen inherited the lead giving her pole position in the cross country as last to go.
Japan’s Toshiyuki Tanaka put in an excellent cross country round to finish two seconds inside the time allowed of 6:39 which left him on his dressage score of 30.7 with Talma D Allou to set a bench mark for the others to match.
Challenges came from Hanna Berg (SWE), Mollie Summerland and Selina Milnes who all jumped but the time was proving tough to make and time faults kept them behind the Japanese rider who was nervously waiting to see if he’d done enough.
It was then on to last year’s BETA CIC3* winner Izzy Taylor to make her challenge with Sophie Dodds’ Be Touchable. They were near foot perfect all the way round and cruised to the finish with plenty in the tank some five seconds inside the time to end on a score of 28.5 and take over the lead.
Second last to go was Ros Canter and Michele Saul’s No Excuse, who, at ten is relatively inexperienced at this level. Ros gave him a great ride but picked up 8.4 time penalties to drop down the order.
The pressure then fell to the experienced duo of Gwendolen Fer and Romantic Love; they needed a clear inside the time to take victory – not one second over the time. They put in a typically French round – free flowing in a fantastic forward rhythm and they crossed the finish line with no jumping penalties. But they incurred 0.4 of a penalty put her level with Izzy on 28.5
Taylor was declared the winner by virtue of a fault free cross country, giving her second BETA CIC3* win in two years.
A delighted Izzy said; “It’s all very exciting; running the cross country in reverse order puts a bit more pressure on us riders which is great. To finish on the same score with one second dividing us is amazing. I was angry with myself that I’d had a fence [in the show jumping] as he has an exceptional record. I’d also had a horse fall in the CCI with Spring Power so I was not in the best of moods this morning but gave myself a bit of a talking to and make sure I gave him a good ride. I’m grateful for the win, the horse hasn’t run since Blenheim last year and he was very professional in all three phases.”
Photographs courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography
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