Taylor triumphs at Blenheim. 

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Sarah Carless reports ..
Izzy Taylor rode a superb clear cross-country round under pressure to claim the final leg of the Event Rider Master series at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials. 
It was an eighth international win this year for Taylor, who led the competition with Be Touchable from start to finish. It is the second CIC*** victory for the pairing in 2017, having won at Millstreet last month. 
Taylor maintained her lead after show jumping with a clear round, whilst Australian Shane Rose ensured it wouldn’t be plain sailing for the British rider as he also went clear with CP Qualified. Oliver Townend moves up the order to third after jumping clear with Cooley Master Class, whilst China’s Alex Hua-Tian and Don Geniro, who held third place after dressage slipped down the order to twenty-third after a costly show jumping round, where they incurred fifteen faults.
There were less ten marks separating the top twelve on the leader board heading into the final phase, ensuring a mouth-watering afternoon of cross country action
However, the pressure eased on Taylor when both Rose and Townend both faulted at the influential third element of the Shires Equestrian Wooded Hollow – a narrow, angled brush – on the cross country. 
Last to go, Taylor made it look easy adding just 1.2 time faults, to finish on a score of 36.9, with a winning margin of 5.7 penalties. 
“Be Touchable was magic in all three phases,” said Taylor. “The pressure was certainly on. With this horse you have to go for it and you have to mean it and he has to be concentrating. I’ve been coming to Blenheim since I was a little girl doing the Pony Club show jumping and to win here has always been a dream.”
New Zealander Tim Price rose from sixth place to finish second on Ascona M, a ride he took on from wife Jonelle whilst she was pregnant, with Australian Christopher Burton third on Graf Liberty. Gemma Tattersall, the overall series winner, was fourth on Chico Bella P.
Tattersall won the series with 132 points, 39 ahead of Sarah Cohen (93 points) and 45 ahead of Mark Todd (87 points) who finished second and third in the series respectively. 
Germany’s rising star, Julia Krajewski, rode a perfectly judged cross-country round on the nine-year-old Chipmunk FRH to retain her lead going into tomorrow’s show jumping phase in the CCI***. 
However, Britain’s Pippa Funnell kept the pressure on with a foot-perfect performance on MGH Grafton Street meaning the German does not have a fence in hand going into the final phase. Amercian rider Kimberly Severson, who won at Blenheim in 2001 on Winsome Adante, remains in third on Cooley Cross Border.
“Chipmunk was a pleasure to ride,” said Krawjewski. “I chose to bring this horse to Blenheim because he likes to go on and the course provided the space I needed. One or two of our landings were not perfect, but he kept galloping and jumping and I am very proud of him.”
Course designer David Evans’s new track rode well with 46 clear rounds from the 84 starters, eight of which were inside the optimum time.
There were some big climbers in the field thanks to clear rounds withn the optimum time – Pardraig McCarthy moved up from 29th to ninth with Mr Chunky, Ciaran Glynn and November Night moved from 38th to tenth and Lydia Hannon and My Royal Touch rose from 40th to 11th
Japanese rider Kazuma Tomoto maintained his lead in the CIC*** for eight and nine-year-olds with a clear round in the show jumping. Christopher Burton also went clear to stay in second position ahead of cross country withy Cooley Lands. But British rider Holly Woodhead now takes up third position with Parkfield Quintessential ahead of tomorrow’s cross country action. 
Photographs courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography 

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