Home to the only private army in Europe – The Atholl Highlanders, the 700-year-old estate will provide the historic setting where the world’s best event horses and riders will compete for the £50,000 prize fund up for grabs at Leg 6 of the global Eventing series.
Cohen hot on heels of series leader Tattersall
Gemma Tattersall (GBR) heads the overall series standings with 104 points, with Sarah Cohen (GBR) in second with 91 points. Tattersall has been an impressive performer in the 2017 series, having won the first and fifth legs riding different horses, as well as finishing in the top ten at Legs 3 and 4. This weekend she teams up with Pamero 4, who she rode at Leg 3 into seventh place. She arrives at Blair Castle fresh from delivering a top ten finish at the European Championships last weekend when riding as an individual representing Team GB. Tattersall, who stated from the outset of the 2017 ERM series that her intention was to win it, is the rider that her fellow competitors will need to catch this weekend.
Sarah Cohen (GBR) is in striking distance to close the gap on Tattersall at Leg 6, with just 13 points between them. Another prolific competitor in the series this year she has ridden her fifteen-year-old gelding Treason in four ERM legs. The pair were the decisive winners at Leg 2 in Germany and have delivered impressive top ten completions in their three other ERM starts. If the combination can deliver another podium finish this weekend, Cohen will be in a strong position to challenge for the top spot in the series.
Todd poised to close the gap on top two
The former double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd (NZL) holds third place on the ERM leaderboard on 69 points. This weekend he rides Kiltubrid Rhapsody who he finished fourth with at Leg 5. Todd has reversed his 2016 series form this year, securing top ten finishes in three legs including third place on the podium at Leg 3. The FEI rider of the 20th century is renowned for delivering under pressure, and if he secures a spot on the podium he could leap up the leaderboard and set up a scintillating series finale.
Sir Mark Todd commented:
“I’m here to do the best I can, and if that means winning this ERM leg then that’s great. Last year I was disappointed that I didn’t feature in the series and it’s been a huge relief that this year has been much more successful. I would be delighted to win this weekend with Kiltubrid Rhapsody but with the level of competition that the ERM series produces it’s not going to be easy”.
Brazil looking to shake up top of ERM leaderboard
An eye catcher in the series this year has been Brazil’s Marcio Carvalho Jorge, who makes his fifth appearance at Leg 6. He sits in fourth on the leaderboard with 57 points. In all his completions he has been placed in the top ten and partners the grey Coronel MCG for the fourth time in the ERM this year. If Jorge can secure a podium finish he also could shake up the overall series standings heading into Leg 7 and the 2017 ERM finale.
European Championship team medallists aim to put pressure on series leaders
2016 ERM Champion Oliver Townend (GBR) could also be a big player this weekend. He was the winner at this leg last year and finished third on the podium at Leg 4 in July with the same horse he rides this weekend – Cooley Master Class. He was part of the gold medal winning British team at the European Championships last weekend and combined with his proven series form, he is likely to want to pile on the pressure on those filling the top spots on the leaderboard.
Ludwig Svennerstal (SWE), who rides El Kazir SP, returned from the Europeans with a team bronze medal for Sweden. He finished second on the ERM podium earlier this month at Leg 5 and is another competitor who will be hungry to continue his strong ERM form and deliver a big result this weekend.
As the £400,000 2017 Event Rider Masters enters its final stages, a stellar field of world class horse and rider combinations are sure to set the dramatic Scottish Highlands alight with a fiercely competitive sixth leg of the Event Rider Master this weekend. All the action from Leg 6 can be viewed live and free globally on Facebook Live and at eventridermasters.tv. A highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels, including Sky Sports Action in the UK on Thursday 31 August at 7pm.
For Leg 6 competitors, start times, information, and live stream http:// eventridermasters.tv/events/ 2017/blair-castle