Favourites World #1 Oliver Townend (GBR) on Cillnabradden Evo and Thomas Carlile (FR) on Upsilon retire on the cross country course
In a Leg that promised fierce competition from the get-go with nine of the top 20 FEI Ranked Riders in the World among the entries, it was the Cross Country that proved to be the most influential phase of the weekend.
Putting in a foot perfect performance across all three phases and winning by a margin of over 8 marks, Australia’s Chris Burton and Polystar I gave owner Trish Rickard her third top level win in 6 weeks. Posting an impressive 23.6 and knocking over 10 marks off their Leg 2 dressage score Burton sat in second place going into the show jumping. A clear round inside the time over the coloured poles put them into the top spot before Cross Country meaning they headed out on the XC course last. Living up to his “fastest man in Eventing” title, Burton guided Polystar I home 2 seconds under the 6 minute optimum time to become only the second person ever to make the time in the CIC3* at Arville.
“I’m thrilled, he gave me such a lovely ride in all three phases. He’s a fast horse and he loves galloping so I figured there was no point in two of us pulling!” Burton commented after his win.
Jumping an incredible clear round in the Show Jumping this morning, Britain’s Laura Collett and the 9yr old gelding London 52 (Dan), continued their stellar Leg 3 performance with a speedy clear round around a very technical 3* track. Having not actually completed an International competition at this level before, the pair finished just 3 seconds over the 6min optimum time on a score of 32.3 taking second place.
With the ERM Podium so far eluding our most capped pair, Australia’s Bill Levett and Masters specialist Shannondale Titan, today was their day. With a solid dressage score of 29.8 leaving them in 13th place overnight, a foot perfect clear Show Jumping round enabled them to climb the leader board to 4th before the Cross Country. Putting in another amazing clear and adding just 2.4 penalties to his score, Bill finished 3 seconds slower than 2nd place Laura on 32.3 earning 3rd place.
Sarah Cohen and Treason were the first combination ever to beat the clock in the CIC3* here at Arville, who finished in 6thplace; a rail down in the show jumping prevented a podium finish for them. “He was on cruise control the whole way round – I’m not sure I even took a pull to be honest. I did think more would make the time, but he is an absolute star.” Said Cohen of long term partner Treason.
The victory in the CIC3* was for Australian combination Sam Griffiths and Gurtera Cher, with a total of 33 penalties. Izzy Taylor and Direct Casino, for Great Britain, obtained the second spot (33 penalties). William Levett rode Alexander NJ to the third place with a 35.30 total. The best Belgian rider was Joris Vanspringel, who obtained the 11th place with Lully des Aulnes.
Ludwig Svennerstal and Camelot were the victors in the CIC2* after yesterday’s performances. With a total of 34.20 penalties, they stayed well ahead of Sam Griffiths and Sea Summer Bay (36 penalties). German rider Stephanie Böhe rode Classic Royetta to a 36.50 total and obtained the third place. Karin Donckers and Leipheimer van ‘t Verahof obtained the 11th place.
Belgium did well in the CIC1*, with two times Karin Donckers in the top 3! Karin and Hamilton took the victory with a total of 28.70 penalties and rode to the second place with Nolimit VDB Z after totaling 30.30 penalties. Spanish rider Alexis Gomes rode Riga de Hus to the third place (31 penalties).
Karin Donckers: “I didn’t have my usual team and so I had lots to think of and might have been more distracted than I usually am. I completely missed a loop in the ERM CIC3* cross country and it’s a shame because Jalapeno was doing so well! I hear people yelling, but had no idea it was at me and by the time I understood what happened, I had lost nearly 30 seconds correcting the mistake. I’m still very happy with Jalapeno’s performance though, with all of my horses. They all did a very good dressage test, jumped really well and tried very hard in the cross country. I had several injuries last year, so all of my horses need to get the hang of the competition again, but I am very pleased with all of them.”
“I must say I have a lot of respect for the Eventing Arville organization for what they have done. It can’t be simple to get everything right, especially with the ERM added to the program, but they did a wonderful job. I really hope the team is happy because they did a fantastic job, I know they worked really hard on the footing, they really listened to the riders, they were attentive to the horses,… for them to have the world’s best riders at their venue… they really deserve it!”
Last but not least: the winner of the Pony CNC and Belgian champion is Baptist Petillion, who rode Hadgar to a 30 penalty total, staying well ahead of Dutch riders Britt Van Rijsewijck/Orchid’s Tigersun (38.70) and Kristy Snepvangers/Robin Hood (43.30).