This weekend £50,000 is up for grabs and with the 2017 series now over its half way point there is everything to play for. Competitors will be hungry for a coveted ERM podium finish and score valuable points on the leaderboard, as the £400,000 series heads into its final three legs across August and September.
Team GB Eventing squad prominent in Leg 5 entries
Two members of the British Eventing squad who will head to the European Eventing Championships in Poland in two weeks-time (17-20 August) feature amongst an awesome field of entries. Gemma Tattersall, the current ERM series leader and the 2016 series champion Oliver Townend both will be hungry to stamp their authority on the overall ERM rankings this weekend, as well as deliver a confidence giving performance ahead of their Team GB commitments in Poland. Furthermore, team reserves; Sarah Cohen riding Treason and Alexander Bragg on board Zagreb also feature amongst a field of world class competitors.
Gemma Tattersall (GBR) partners with the former racehorse Arctic Soul. Gemma tops the ERM leaderboard with 74 points, and has secured her lead riding a different horse in each leg she has competed in across the 2017 series. She won Leg 1 on board the grey mare Quick Look V, who she will ride at the European Eventing Championships later this month. Then, in July Gemma completed in the top ten at both Leg 3 riding Pamero 4 and at Leg 4 on board Chico Bella P. From the outset of the 2017 series Gemma stated that her sights were set on the series, and with Arctic Soul renowned as a superb cross country performer she is a favourite to extend her lead this weekend.
Commenting ahead of Leg 5 of the ERM, Gemma Tattersall said:
“I am really looking forward to riding Arctic Soul this weekend in the Event Rider Masters. He is a lovely big horse and I feel the galloping cross country should suit him, being a thoroughbred. I expect this weekend is going to be super competitive but we are ready and I hope I am still at the top of the ERM leaderboard come Sunday afternoon”.
It was at the Festival of British Eventing, at Gatcombe Park last year, that the 2016 ERM champion Oliver Townend (GBR) began his dominance of the ERM series, when winning the leg with Cillnabradden Evo. Townend kicked off his 2017 ERM campaign in fine style last month when finishing third on the podium at Leg 4 at Haras de Jardy in France, being one of only two riders in the competition to finish on their dressage score. This weekend he rides Note Worthy and will be hungry to build on his third-place performance and secure back to back wins this weekend.
Sarah Cohen (GBR) is remarkable performer in the 2017 series and currently lies in second in the overall ERM rankings with 69 points. This weekend she will ride her fifteen-year old gelding Treason, with the combination making their fourth appearance in the series this year. They delivered a brilliant win at Leg 2 in Wiesbaden, Germany as well as finishing in the top ten in the first and fourth legs. The pair are well established across the three Eventing phases and have jumped double clears in all their ERM appearances. They are earmarked as potentials to steal the series lead if they deliver another strong performance this weekend.
Todd looking to add ERM title to his world class career
Sixth in the 2017 ERM rankings on 45 points is former double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd (NZL). This weekend he rides the eleven-year-old Kiltubrid Rhapsody. A podium finish in the series eluded the New Zealander in 2016, but he has reversed this form this year and in his last two ERM appearances he was third on the podium at Leg 3 at Barbury, and delivered a top ten finish at Leg 4. This has put the FEI rider of the 20th century in the hunt to challenge the top of the ERM rankings if he continues his solid run this weekend.
With the magnificent estate of Gatcombe Park as the back drop for Leg 5 of the Event Rider Masters and with competitors vying for the top of the series leaderboard the scene is set for a fascinating two days of ERM Eventing.
All the action from Leg 5 can be viewed live at eventridermasters.tv. A highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels, including Sky Sports Arena in the UK on Thursday 10 August at 1800.
For Leg 5 competitors, start times, information, and live stream http://eventridermasters.tv/events/ 2017/gatcombe-park