The inaugural Event Rider Masters series was wrapped up at Blenheim and New Zealander, Jonelle Price, finished second to Oliver Townend who won the series by five points. The six-part series was new this season and proved very popular with riders and spectators alike.
Jonelle did her very best to win the title and the lucrative winner’s purse of £30,000, absolutely racing around the course for a great clear and just 0.4 time faults, one of the fastest on the day. However, Oliver on Cillnabradden Evo also put in a good, clear, fast round, for just 0.8 time faults and finished second in this leg with enough points to secure the series win.
The Blenheim CIC3* leg (worth £16,000 to the winner) was won by Frenchman Thomas Carlile on his lovely stallion Upsilon with clear show jumping and 2.4 time faults to add to his dressage of 41.7, putting him 2.4pen ahead of Ollie. Jonelle was third on 47.1.
Jonelle had an unfortunate rail and a time fault in the show jumping, and while these may have proved costly for this leg of the series, she wouldn’t have been able to head off Oliver and take the overall win. She still won £15,000 for finishing second, as well as £8,000 for third place in the Blenheim class. Paul Tapner was third in the ERM series, and Gemma Tattersall fourth.
Jock Paget also had a good performance on Clifton Signature, with four faults in the jumping and two time faults across country to finish fifth (winning £3,000). Blyth and Xanthus were 10th after their 48.9 dressage, yet another clear jumping round, and 6.8 time faults on the cross-country.
Tim Price and Xavier Faer went well across country for just 4.4 time, and added nine faults in the show jumping, finishing 18th. Dan Jocelyn and Caroline Powell also had clear cross-country rounds, Dan with 14.4 time and Caroline 15.2, so they finished 25th and 27th.
Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II as well as Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino both retired on the cross-country. Shane Rose had a fall with CP Qualified. The brushes after the water were the culprit for the demise of these three as well as many others on the course, including Gemma Tattersall who needed a good placing to win the series.
All six legs of the 2016 ERM can be watched again at eventridermasters.tv
As usual, show jumping proved influential in the CCI3*. Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott jumped clear to lead the class from the dressage phase to the winner’s podium, adding just 8.4 time faults to a dressage score of 32.9. Andrew Nicholson and Teseo were big movers in the class, scooting from 23rd after dressage to second, with just four faults for a rail in the jumping phase and 0.4 time faults across country. While first out on the course, they were the fastest round of the day. Andrew normally wears glasses to ride cross-country but says that he wasn’t able to because of the adverse weather, and it does have an influence.
“Without my glasses I know I am a bit slower but I just accept that. The horse is very, very fast; they will be flat out to keep up with it. I went one long way which was probably 10-12 seconds, but I just felt the ground might be a little slippery there. When you are first to go you’ve got to consider everything. But he is superb and he is very fast. It is a proper test, he felt superb but it is his third three-star. He made it feel very easy. Without my glasses, I don’t expect him to go inside the time with me creeping along. He has been 20 seconds inside the time at Saumur. Bramham, he was very easily inside the time. He is a class galloper.”
When asked about the glasses situation, Andrew was pragmatic. “It used to annoy me and I would try and go too fast for my own good without the glasses. Now I just accept it. It is an outdoor sport. There is nothing I can do about the weather and nothing I can do about my eyesight, just be sensible.”
The next best placed New Zealander was Sir Mark Todd on his inexperienced Obos Colombus, 16th after 14.8 time faults on cross-country and 9pen in show jumping.
Sir Mark was pleased with his horse. “It never is easy here; this is his first proper go at three-star and I just wanted him to have a nice experience, which he did. I’m a bit over time but he has come home really well and really enjoyed it out there.
“The ground held up really well. The footing is perfect; you just had to be a little bit careful on the turns as it was a bit slippery. It is just trying to build the horse’s confidence on the way around. Next year we will be looking at doing a four-star with him. Although he is 10, he is low on mileage and he is just improving all the time.”
Caroline Powell finished 23rd on Sinatra Frank Baby, after two rails in the jumping and 15.6 time faults. Lizzie Brown was 29th on Havanna Van’t Castanaehof, 14pen in the jumping phase but a good finish for their first attempt at this level.
Andrew Nicholson was again the best of the Kiwis in this class, finishing third on the lovely grey Swallow Springs. They added just four penalties to their dressage score (final total 45.8), thanks to one show jumping rail. The win went to Willa Newton on Caja 20 (40.4), from Laura Collett on Mr Bass (42.4). Jonelle Price jumped clear in both jumping phases, but had 14 time faults across country and three show jumping.
Sir Mark Todd on Kiltubrid Rhapsody also had three show jumping time faults to add to his 7.6 across country, and finished on a score of 53.9 in 14th place. Andrew on Urma BK and Tim on Danturano K finished 26th and 27th after expensive show jumping rounds. Jock Paget withdrew Angus Blue after the show jumping.