Hoy and Funnell take early Blenheim leads

Sarah Carless..

Former European champion Bettina Hoy has a sizeable lead in the CCI3* after the first day of dressage at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.

Riding Seigneur Medicott, the 10-year-old owned by Gerd-Hermann Horst, the German rider scored an impressive mark of 32.9.

Hoy said: “I’ve very pleased – he’s still a very young horse, but he’s a beautiful mover and a beautiful horse. He really tries to concentrate and is lovely to ride. I think he’s very exciting; I don’t know whether I can keep the ride on him, as he belongs to an owner, but I’d like to secure it if I can. The cross-country course here is beautifully built as always and the ground looks fantastic. I always thought of Blenheim Palace as the perfect stepping stone for this horse for whatever comes next year.”

Britain’s Harry Meade is in second place after scoring 39.6 on Orlando, owned by Di Davies, Irene Graham and Anita Dalton. Third is Hannah Sue Burnett from the USA, with a mark of 41.7 on Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot.

In the CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-old horses, Britain’s Pippa Funnell is in pole position with Jonathan and Jane Clarke’s eight-year-old MGH Grafton Street. The pair scored 35.2.

Funnell said: “I saw this horse last year when Andrew Nicholson was riding him and really liked him. I asked Andrew if he was for sale, and he said he wasn’t, but I kept a close eye on him all season, and after Andrew had his accident he rang me and said the horse was coming on to the market. Jonathan and Jane Clarke bought him for me to ride. This is his first CIC3*; he is one I am excited about for the future and I brought him here with the future in mind. It’s such great education for him here – I won’t run him flat to the boards across country but will ride how he feels. He’s a good jumper, and I was delighted with his dressage; he’s got a lovely brain and three good paces.”

French rider Sidney Dufresne is second with Agnes Trouble’s Tresor Mail on 36.5, while Britain’s Tom McEwen lies third on Frank and Jane Inns’ and his own Toledo De Kerser with 36.6.

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