The Scottish venue provides a spectacular setting for the fifth leg of the series with the world’s leading event riders battling for the opportunity to earn valuable points ahead of the series finale and the chance to win £50,000.
Competitive performances have paid off for Tapner, who has finished no lower than twelfth in all four legs of the series securing him a commanding lead in the overall standings with 87 points. This weekend he will partner Kilronan, with the competition possibly being the combination’s final swansong together.
Tapner commented: “I’m hoping the softer ground and galloping course at Blair will suit Kilronan. He is returning to his roots as he started competing in Scotland for what might be his final competition. He has been such a wonderful horse and I hope the weekend is a success for him and I am also able to hold onto the lead in the Event Rider Masters.”
The competition will also boast six Olympic athletes who have returned from Rio in tome to compete at the Perthshire event.
Gemma Tattersall, who sits in second place overall in the series with 66 points, rides Santiago Bay. She is keen to close the gap on her rival who stole the lead of the series from her at The Festival of British Eventing whilst she was competing in Rio as a member of Team GB’s eventing squad.
She said: “I’m really excited to be back competing in the Event Rider Masters at Blair. I missed Gatcombe, which gave Paul Tapner the chance to overtake me on the leader board, but I will be doing my best to get ahead again this weekend.”
Fresh from a team bronze medal performance in Rio is the current world number two Chris Burton riding Polystar I, who won his last start – the CiC*** at Barbury in July. Burton is joined by his Australian team mate Shane Rose and his Olympic horse CP Qualified.
Three of New Zealand’s Olympic squad that could lay down a challenge on the ERM standings are Jonathan Paget riding Angus Blue, Tim Price on board Xavier Faer and his wife Jonelle who rides Cloud Dancer.
Following his win at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on Cillnabradden Evo, Oliver Townend has indicated he would like to target the horse at the remaining two ERM legs. The horse has proven he is competitive and with his Gatcombe success providing an excellent preparation for the stamina test of Blair’s cross-country it will be no surprise if Townend features prominently on the leader board.
Thomas Carlile was a series debutant at the beginning of August but now is £12,000 richer after his second place effort at Gatcombe and looks to be reinvesting some of his win by making the journey from his base in France to Perthshire. Carlile rides Opium De Boisy and if he can continue his Gatcombe form the French-man could certainly shake up the series.
Action from the ERM competition can be viewed for free live at www.eventridermasters.tv with dressage on Saturday, and show jumping and cross country on Sunday.