Nicola Wilson was also on a mission – to get the feisty black mare Bulana, a winner at Boekelo last year, to listen to her and to come back to the hand. She said:
“I’m hugely relieved. Usually when her feet touch the ground after a fence she’s off, but today I thought: ‘My god, we’re actually in a rhythm.’ It was such a joyous feeling – she gave me a beautiful ride.”
Third place was a great thrill for Sarah Cohen, as Treason is now her only ride; after a stellar career at the highest level, she devotes most of her time now to looking after her two children.
“Beanie Sturgis [fellow rider gave me a right talking to and told me to get a move on. I’ve ridden this horse for ten years and have always believed in him. He’s still got it – I just wanted to make sure I’ve still got it.”
Forty-five of the 60 cross-country starters completed with 37 clear rounds, only four of which were within the optimum time, including sixth-placed Michael Owen on Bradeley Law.
Kristina Cook, who took a spectacular dunking in the main water complex, withdrew Billy The Red from fifth place.