Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Leg 4 Day 1 St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials

The 1st day of Leg 4 at The St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials was bathed in glorious sunshine, enjoying temperatures in excess of 30 degrees but the weather was not only the thing hotting up, with everything from an elimination to personal bests being smashed inside the dressage arena.

Thomas Carlile and Upsilon © Event Rider Masters/Anna Franklin

Having never seen a joint leader in an ERM Leg, today was to be the day with both Liz Halliday-Sharp and Thomas Carlile tying in 1st place going into the Show Jumping tomorrow morning on a score of 24.9.

Liz Halliday Sharp © Event Rider Masters/Anna Franklin

The USA’s Liz Halliday-Sharp scored one of the few 9s that were awarded during the day with her long-time partner Fernhill By Night. Helping them on their way to take the lead from Nicola Wilson and at the same time smash their previous best Barbury dressage score by 10.4marks.

“I was so thrilled with him as he’s usually a very lazy horse and we didn’t have a good time at the last Leg in Arville. I tried really hard to not over do our warmup today to get him into his happy place and he actually had a really good time in the arena and definitely deserved that score. Now we’ve just got to go and jump all the jumps and go fast. It is tough here though – the show jumping is always really tricky and the time is always super tight but it’s great to have him feeling so well, so fingers crossed we have a good day tomorrow.”

With the best dressage average in the field coming into this Leg, France’s Tom Carlile and his Stallion Upsilon produced a super test with just one mistake in the counter canter putting the pair in joint place on the top spot with America’s Liz Halliday-Sharp

“I’m very happy, he was his usual self – maybe the pair of us are getting a bit too relaxed in there. He warmed up really quickly – he felt very smooth straight away and I went in there a little casual maybe but I didn’t want to over ride him and look like a kid kicking a pony around. Towards the end of the test I was extremely happy.

He has lost his confidence a bit with Cross Country and I have watched the Arville run out replay on www.eventridermasters.tv 7 times coming to the conclusion that I rode the fence wrong because of a course walk error on my part. I’ll be doing things a bit differently tomorrow!”

Holding 3rd place overnight, world number one Oliver Townend and Sally-Anne Eggington’s Cillnabradden Evo headed down the centreline as the final combination of the day. Producing yet another consistently correct test the combination proved they are an example of practicing until you don’t always get it right but until you never get it wrong. After his test Oliver commented,

“I’m very pleased with Cillnabradden Evo, he definitely did the best job he could. He’s not quite as flash as Upsilon so it’s a pain following that horse but at the same time I was very happy with mine.

We have had an unbelievable season this year and he was 1st or 2nd at every 3* running up to Arville in tough company. I think he is allowed a blip occasionally. We know each other well and he is usually a very reliable consistent horse so hopefully he’ll be back to that tomorrow.”

Oliver Townend © Event Rider Masters/Benjamin Clarke

Gemma Tattersall and Clive Smith’s Pamero 4 beat their existing personal best of 27.4 by scoring a 27.2 with a good test where they spent the majority of the time trending in the very low 20s but two missed flying changes dropped their score and took away their chances of going into the lead and has them in 6th overnight.

“I was so pleased with Pamero today – we made mistakes in both changes but I think we were just trying too hard and completely missed but I was really happy with him and the rest of the test. I don’t mind the heat but this is slightly extreme and the time is going to be super super tight tomorrow – I think it might even be near on impossible! We’ll see tomorrow.” Said Gemma after her test.

The last person to come from outside the top 5 after dressage to win the CIC3* at Barbury was  Nicola Wilson and with her sitting inside the top 5 overnight alongside 2 of the top show jumpers in the field it is all to play for tomorrow.

Two Big Questions

With joint leaders making the show jumping all the more influential and a very strong trend within the ERM being that a fault free round over the coloured poles must be achieved to be in with a chance of winning, tomorrow looks set to be an exciting day of Eventing.

Cillnabradden Evo is on a run of 15 clear Show Jumping rounds and 11 of those having been in a row with Oliver, the pair have never knocked an international pole at any level – could this be their 3rd ERM win together?

Thomas Carlile, Oliver Townend and Gemma Tattersall, the three riders in with a chance of being the first to take three individual leg wins all sit within the top 6 – can Gemma buck the Barbury trend and come from outside the top 5 after dressage to take the win?

Series Leader Laura Collett and inexperienced 3* horse Dacapo sit in 10th after the 1st phase – if they can collect some strong Series points tomorrow it will be tough for anyone to knock her off the top spot. Although with Chris Burton snapping at their heals, we doubt they will be resting on their laurels in the jumping phases.

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