Britain’s Izzy Taylor rode a superb clear cross-country round under pressure at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials to claim the seventh and last leg of the Event Rider Masters series, with Tim Price second and Christopher Burton third.
It was an eighth international win this year for Izzy, but, as leader after the dressage and show jumping phases on Be Touchable, she had to endure a long, nervous wait with the cross-country run in reverse order.
Shane Rose (CP Qualified), and Oliver Townend (Cooley Master Class) were breathing down Izzy’s neck in second and third places but both faulted at the influential third element of the Shires Equestrian Wooded Hollow, a narrow, angled brush.
There were cheers as Izzy negotiated the bogey fence brilliantly. “Be Touchable was magic in all three phases,” she says. “The pressure was certainly on. With this horse you have to go for it and you have to mean it, and he has to be concentrating.
“I’ve been coming to Blenheim since I was a little girl doing the Pony Club show jumping and to win here has always been a dream.”
Tim Price rose from sixth place to eventual second on Ascona M, a ride he pinched from Jonelle while she was pregnant. There were only two clear rounds under time, and Tim was one of them. The other was Australian Christopher Burton, who finished third on Graf Liberty. Each of them had a rail in the show jumping, otherwise would have won.
Gemma Tattersall, the series winner, was fourth on Chico Bella P.
Sir Mark Todd had a rail in the show jumping and 5.2 time faults across the country but finished in 9th place on Kiltubrid Rhapsody, with enough points to retain his third spot in the series.
Andrew Nicholson was 15th in the ERM class on Jet Set IV after five faults in the show jumping and 9.6 cross-country time faults.
Jonelle Price had a run-out in at the bogey fence across country and opted for a slow trip so ended up 29th on her old partner, Classic Moet. Blyth Tait had a run out and a fall at the same bogey fence on Dassett Courage.
Germany’s latest rising star, Julia Krajewski, rode a perfectly judged cross-country round on the nine-year-old Chipmunk FRH to retain her lead going into tomorrow’s final show jumping phase in the CCI3*, Blenheim’s showpiece class.
However, she does not have a fence in hand over four-time Blenheim winner Pippa Funnell, whose luck turned with a foot-perfect performance on MGH Grafton Street.
US rider Kimberly Severson, who won here back in 2001 on Winsome Adante, remains third on Cooley Cross Border, and Britain’s Laura Collett has risen from ninth place after dressage to fourth on the impressive Mr Bass.
“Chipmunk was a pleasure to ride,” said Julia, who scored her first four-star victory at Luhmuhlen this year. “I chose to bring this horse to Blenheim because he likes to go on and the course provided the space I needed. One or two of our landings were not perfect, but he kept galloping and jumping and I am very proud of him.”
Swallow Springs put in a faultless round for Andrew Nicholson and is seventh on 43.2 with Julia, the leader, on 33.4.
Andrew is also 14th on Urma BK after adding 6.4 time faults but jumping clear. No such luck on Byrnesgrove First Diamond, who was eliminated after a fall late in the course.
Dan Jocelyn is 65th place on Blackthorn Cruise after a run-out at fence 25 and time faults.
Course designer David Evans’s new track rode well with 46 clear rounds from the 84 starters, eight of which were inside the optimum time.