Leg 4 of the 2017 Event Rider Masters (ERM) has kicked off with dressage at the magnificent and historic grounds of Haras de Jardy in Versailles, France. There is an impressive international field of 40 horses and riders, representing 14 nations and including former and current Olympians, World and European medallists, all hoping to stake their claim on the coveted ERM podium and the 60,000 euro prize pot.
Bettina Hoy took the lead with a lovely test on Seigneur Medicott for 31.4, and holds a three-point advantage over her ex-husband Andrew Hoy and Cheeky Calimbo (34.4).
Seigneur Medicott and Bettina won the CIC*** German Championship last month at Luhmühlen on a remarkable finishing score of 26.3. “He is so reliable”, Bettina said. “He always gives 150% and although he was a bit tense outside the arena today, he delivered inside it. I now need to focus on being competitive tomorrow and delivering the results”.
Sir Mark Todd, who broke his ERM jinx at Leg 3 last weekend by finishing third, is at Jardy with NZB Campino. They are currently 9th on a score of 39, just ahead of Oliver Townend on Cooley Master Class (last year’s ERM series winner) with 39.1.
The only other New Zealander competing is Tim Price, who is riding Jonelle’s talented mare, Ascona M. Their score of 43.7 has put them into 19th place.
The current world number 1, European and Olympic champion, Michael Jung, made his ERM debut riding Star Connection for Germany. His score of 35.7 puts him in fifth place and definitely into contention for adding this title to his super-impressive CV.
The French, who have featured prominently on the podium across the 2016 and 2017 series, have 13 combinations in the event, including Thibaut Vallette and Qing de Briot who are currently third on 34.8. Sidney Dufresne, who finished fourth at Leg 3 last weekend and is current world number five, is 29th on 50.6 with Swing de Perdriat, so has some work to do. However, Karim Florent Laghouag and Entebbe de Hus are well placed on 34.9 in fourth, with Cedric Lyard and his 2017 Badminton horse Cadeau du Roi 11th on 40.
The French demonstrated their dominance in eventing at the 2016 Olympics by winning team gold, and could feature prominently on the ERM podium at Jardy, particularly with the home crowd advantage.
All of the top 10 combinations produced a sub-40 dressage mark, and fewer than eight marks separate them ahead of tomorrow’s show jumping. The competition will conclude with cross-country run in reverse order of merit.