Previous winners of this class have gone on to win Badminton and championship medals and Laura looks to have two stars in London 52, owned by SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials Steering Committee member Karen Bartlett with Keith Scott, and Diana Chappell’s Dacapo.
“London 52 finds it so easy it’s scary,” Laura said of the nine-year-old she bought two years ago out of a showjumping yard. “He’s pure class. It’s some feeling riding a horse with a long stride like that. Yet again, I’ve bought a horse I don’t want to sell – I really don’t have much of a business head!”
Izzy Taylor’s superb clear round, one of only three inside the optimum time, put Laura under pressure on her second ride, London 52, who just had the advantage after the dressage and show jumping phases. Izzy finished second on Andrea Brereton’s Springpower, a rider she acquired this season.
“He now feels as if he has become my horse – it was one of those rounds that felt as if could have been at home,” said Izzy, who is based a few miles away from Blenheim in Oxfordshire. “It was a very, very good course. The terrain here always makes horses concentrate and David Evans [cross-country course-designer] does such a good job in using the ground. It’s a difficult class to build for, but he’s really got it right.”
Leicestershire rider Richard Jones, who is enjoying a great autumn, was fourth on Dinah Saunders and Ros Jones’s Irish-bred chestnut, Kilballyboy Bob, ahead of speedy Italian rider Vittoria Panizzon, fifth on Super Cillious, and the dressage leaders, James Avery and Vitali, eventual seventh for New Zealand.
Zara Tindall, who won the European title at Blenheim in 2005, is now back competing after the birth of her baby, Lena, and finished a promising 10th on Class Affair.
There were 55 clear rounds from the 69 cross-country starters.