A penalty free cross country day for Piggy French & Lemington Lett Dance means the pair are in pole position overnight before the final phase tomorrow in the CCI*** at the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.
The combination secured a vital clear round inside the time on an action packed cross country phase which saw Bettina Hoy drop down to 5th place from top spot after adding 7.6 time penalties to her fantastic dressage score of 42.1.
Piggy expertly guided Miss Judy Bradwell’s 13 year old Lemington Lett Dance round the 29 fence track, which included 3 water complexes, 2 of which crossing the River Glyme. Course designer, Eric Winter commented “As always with Blenheim cross country courses there is plenty of big jumping mixed in with technical questions – the time will be difficult to achieve”, and he couldn’t have been more right as the time played a huge part in the outcome of today’s competition.
Excellent going combined with an excellent turn out meant a dramatic first cross country day with plenty of thrills and spills along the way.
An early casualty was first rider out on course, Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa riding Gorgeous George who suffered a horse fall at fence 18, Fidelity Wealth Management Fence. This fence proved to be the one to watch as it caused more than one upset throughout the day.
Piggy French strengthened her chances of taking the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials CCI*** title when she secured 2nd spot overnight riding DHI Topper W following a second floorless round.
GB’s Pippa Funnell climbed 7 places when she finished on a clean sheet riding 9 year old Billy Landretti and goes ahead to tomorrow’s showjumping in 3rd place.
As we all know with eventing, anything can happen and it will be all to play for, come tomorrow’s final phase of showjumping.