Much like its four star counterpart, the cross country course for this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Cup goes in the same direction as 2015.
The BE Flower Box (Fence 1) and Huntsmans Roll Top (Fence 2) give horses and riders the chance to get warmed up for the test ahead.
The Park Logs (Fence 3) provides the first combination on the course. For the BE90 there is a nice gentle bend between the two skinny elements on a related distance. For the BE100, the curve is slightly more acute but riders have the benefit of a large oak tree to help guide them around.
The ASX Cross Question (Fence 4), whilst a fairly straightforward fence, provides one of the best photo opportunities on the course with Badminton House in the background.
Next up is Wadworths at the Lake (Fence 5). The first element is The Fishing Net (a hanging log) which takes riders into the lake and is not to dissimilar to the Fence 8 jumped in the main competition (Black Flag alternative fence will be available). Riders then swing right to exit the water over an upturned boat. A wide turn in the water can take you square on to B, or a tighter turn will be more on the angle but may save time.
Riders then cross through the World Horse Welfare Garden (Fence 6). Competitors in the BE90 will jump into the complex and take a line to the second element around the tower in the centre, whilst the BE100 will take a right hand turn to exit the complex.
The Woodhouse Table (Fence 7) and Danco Shooting Butt (Fence 8) are relative let up fences with the latter being up to size for both classes the Devoucoux Brushes (Fence 9). Rides will have the option to take the left or right hand route through the narrow hedges, but both should ride very similarly. How riders approach the Shooting Butt in the BE100 will affect how they approach the Devoucoux Brushes, so riders need to stick to their decision if they are going to negotiate it successfully.
The Spillers Horse Feeds Bean (Fence 10) provides another let up on the course as they head down the avenue as does the PHEV Brush (Fence 11) to set riders up as the move to a more intensive part of the course.
The Irish Gateway Combination (Fences 12, 13 and 14) may comprise of separately numbered fences but being on a related distance, riders will have to be committed to their line. The first element is a simple log leading on to a hanging log where BE90 class jump to the left and BE100 jump to the right. Riders must also navigate the terrain as they approach the final element, an open corner (black flag alternative available).
The Shogun Hollow comes next (Fence 15). The fence is a good test for both levels of competition and should ride well with the correct approach, although it has been known to catch horses out when they see the ditch at the last moment.
Another combination faces riders at the CrossCountry App House (Fence 16). Those competing in the BE90 will jump two houses, with the option of angling the first element for a slightly quicker route. The BE100 competitors will jump the house as the first element on an angle to a brush fence at the second element. The longer route will allow riders to jump the house straight and take an alternative brush to the right.
The Four Star Wall (Fence 18) brings riders over an upright stone wall, with the BE100 course riders on a four stride related distance to a roll top at the top of a rise. The BE90 course also has a second element on a longer related distance with a less acute incline to the roll top.
The Mirage Step (Fence 18) in the BE90 comprises of a drop down the step with a left hand bend to a narrow brush fence. The BE100 option is far more challenging. Those going direct will encounter a brush fence over the top of the ditch requiring a bold jump. The alternative is to drop down the step to a brush – but this will waste quite a bit of time.
After a long run uphill comes the Outlander Haywagon (Fence 19) which drops down on landing leading to The Careers in Racing Quarry (Fence 20). The BE90 course comprises of a slightly uphill combination of angled roll tops, whilst the BE100 has an uphill approach to a combination of brushes.
James’s Book (Fence 21) provides the last jumping effort of the course – whose name will be joining previous winners as the champions of the 2016 Mitsubishi Motors Cup?