Taylor triumphs at Le Lion

Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners

Sarah Carless reports…

British rider Izzy Taylor capped of her successful 2017 by winning the six-year-old class at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses at Mondial du Lion. 

Riding her own and Charlie Sand’s Monkeying Around, Taylor led from start to finish on her dressage score of 37.6. The German-bred gelding excelled in all three phases of the prestigious event to take the title by 0.5 penalties over Australia’s Paul Tapner and Bob and 4.4 penalties over third placed Thomas Carlile and Birmane for France.

Taylor commented: “He was in our stable to be sold, but when I tried him, I quickly identified his potential. My partner Charlie Sands bought him. During his 5th year, he mainly did hunting since he had quite a difficult temperament. This year, he took an important step, he understands better and better what is expected from him. I came here hoping to do well in this championship, but with a six-year-old horse, you never know. Obviously I am very happy about this victory, because I have great hopes with this horse. The target is to come back next year and I hope to keep him under my saddle. But I have a family and stables to run, so maybe I will have a difficult choice to make in the future; keep him or sell him.”

Australian Paul Tapner maintained second place with Bob Chaplin, also going clear in the final phase. He said afterwards: “I am more than pleased with Bob who has been perfect during the whole competition. If I had not done this mistake in the dressage test, we would have been in the lead.  I will come back with Bob next year and we will win, because it is impossible for Bob not to win.” 

Third after the cross-country, Irish rider Elizabeth Power and DSL The Entertainer had a rail down which benefited the French rider Thomas Carlile and Birmane. He commented: My mare was a bit tense during the dressage, because she was surprised to see so many people and excitement in an environment she is familiar with, but is much quieter usually. It was not necessarily an advantage to compete on home ground. But on the cross-country, she was as good as she can be, and behaved well, like in the jumping phase. She is a promising mare for the future, and the seven-year-old championships is already planned in her program for 2018, but the real target with her is Paris 2024.”

Taylor’s win was backed up by impressive performances from the other two combinations representing Great Britain in the six-year-old championship. Sarah Bullimore and the Kew Jumping Syndicate’s British-bred Corouet picked up just four faults from the show jumping phase to finish in sixth place on a score of 45.0 penalties, and Hayden Hankey with his own You’ve Got The Lux secured tenth place with a score of 46.7 penalties

The seven-year-old championships proved more of a challenge but it was a home win for Astier Nicolas. 

New Zealander James Avery was the leader after two days of dressage with Vitali, who was previously ridden by the young rider’s compatriot Jock Paget. After the test he commented: “Vitali has an amazing talent. He is brilliant and moves really well. It is easy to be good at dressage with him.”Jean Lou Bigot held second after dressage with Aktion De Belheme with Germany’s Stephanie Bohe lying in third with Classic Royetta. Britain’s Mary King lay in fourth with King Robert. 

Avery held on to his lead following the cross country, adding just 1.6 time faults to his dressage score. Britain’s King moved up to second following a clear round inside the time, whilst Christopher Burton moved into third with Lawtown Boy. 

But it was the show jumping which proved to be the most decisive phase and led to a real shake-up of the leader board. Christopher Burton dropped to 11th with two rails down and three-time penalty points with Lawtown Boy. Mary King had been second after cross country with King Robert, but 19 faults cost them dearly dropping them down to 21st. And overnight leader New Zealander James Avery and Vitali finished 6th after two rails down and one-time penalty point.  

New Zealander Andrew Nicholson and Yacabo BK moved up from 14th after the dressage to finish in third, having moved up seven placings alone following the show jumping. He commented; “I was hoping to be in the top ten with Yacabo, but with the young horses, you never know. This third place is a great reward for him. He is good in the three phases, and I think he has the level to compete in four star competitions in the future.” 

Having already won the six-year-old championships, Izzy Taylor capped off a successful weekend taking second in the seven-year-old-championship with Direct Cassino

Astier Nicolas rode a perfect round in the final phase to claim the seven-year-old eventing championship with Alertamalib’or. He said: “I was a little frustrated after the dressage because I think he deserved a better score. On the cross-country, he showed serenity. He was even a bit cold at the beginning. On the show jumping course, he did his job perfectly, and deserves this title, I adore this horse.”

Great Britain also took five spots in the top ten. Alongside Taylor, 2015 champion Laura Collett claimed fourth place on her own Sir Papillon, whilst Gemma Tattersall riding her own and Christopher Stone’s British-bred Chilli Knight produced a double clear to take seventh place. Kylie Roddy and the Fox Family’s SRS Kan Do and Ben Hobday on his own and Jane Chambers’ Shadow Man II completed the top ten in eighth and tenth place respectively.

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