All three phases produced their share of leader board shuffling drama with America’s Liz Halliday-Sharp and France’s Tom Carlile sharing the top spot going into the show jumping.
Proving just as challenging as we thought it might, the first into the show jumping arena this morning, Matt Heath and Sportsfield Lord Livesey gave us our first clear round, but they were not forthcoming after that. With just 7 riders leaving the coloured poles in the cups the top 10 looked very different after the 2nd phase.
Oliver Townend (GBR) and Cillnabradden Evo broke their run of clears in the show jumping when they had four poles down dropping them right out of Leg 4 contention. Gemma Tattersall and Pamero 4 put in a foot perfect clear round to climb into 3rd position going into the cross country.
Joint leaders Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Fernhill By Night dropped into 2nd place after the show jumping opening the door for favourites Tom Carlile (FRA) and Upsilon to hold their lead heading out onto the Cross Country this afternoon, which they did in style.
“I was good in there huh? I rode it just now like I’m meant to ride and it was good to put the ball back onto the pitch. He’s such a wonderful animal that the biggest danger is just us losing our concentration. After all we aren’t robots and blips happen. Whether the course is tough or easy isn’t an issue with a horse like Upsilon, it’s just about switching our brains on.” Commented Tom after the Show Jumping.
In an afternoon that saw “Mr Stickability”, Andrew Nicholson (NZ), part ways with Swallow Springs and less than 20 riders jump clear around the Capt Mark Phillips’ designed Cross Country course, the jumping proved just as significant as the time.
Riding a mature confidence-giving round, the Frenchman and Upsilon proved their class once again and re-affirmed their place as the new Kings of Barbury. Adding just 0.4 time penalties to their leading dressage to finish on top of the ERM podium Tom said,
“Upslion loves Barbury and I do too. Only three wins left and we can equal the legend, Andrew Nicholson. He did lose a bit of confidence at the Euros and he showed it again in Arville – I think he just needs a couple more nice runs like today before we think about anything else too big.”
Playing an important part in Brit Gemma Tattersall’s 2017 Series Win, Pamero 4 put in a classy performance in all three phases at Barbury to give Tattersall her first podium finish this year. With a speedy clear just 4 seconds over the time, Gemma and Pamero 4 finished on a score of 28.8 and left no room for leaders Tom Carlile and Upsilon to make any mistakes.
“I just want to say thank you to Pamero 4 and owner Clive Smith – I’m so proud of the horse. The beginning of the season wasn’t easy as we have had a few injuries but as you say that is horses. We are chuffed to be back at beautiful Barbury and back on the podium.”
The fastest male event rider in the world, Chris Burton (AUS), didn’t disappoint out on course. Delivering a masterclass in Cross Country riding with an incredible clear inside the time the Australian and Trisha Rickard’s Polystar I finished on 34.8 and in 3rd place and with it taking the Series lead from Laura Collett.
However, Laura still collected some valuable Series points by finishing in 9th after a wonderful performance on another inexperienced young 3* horse by guiding 9 year old Dacapo home clear with just 10.6 time penalties.
“To come here as part of this field and produce what he has produced is incredible. He is a very exciting horse for the future.” Said Laura.
Giving the GBR World Equestrian Games selectors even more of a headache, European Team Gold Medallists, Tina Cook and Billy the Red and Nicola Wilson and One Two Many cemented their selection bids with wonderful clears around the tough 3* track finishing in 6th & 7th place respectively.
Tina commented after her round, “I’m really pleased with this weekend. I missed the first half of the season when I dislocated and broke my shoulder and it was really frustrating to miss Badminton but it’s been fab to be back here. I’m really pleased with Billy the Red, he’s only 11 and still very young. He’s going to Aachen in a couple of weeks’ time so it’s onwards and upwards.”
With Chris Burton sitting pretty at the top of the Series Leader Board after a foot perfect performance here at Barbury and all of the Series top 6 heading to Leg 5 at Haras de Jardy the race to take a place on the 2018 Series Podium is seriously hotting up.
The Event Rider Masters now heads to Leg 5 at Haras de Jardy, France. (14 & 15 July 2018).
WATCH all of the LEG 4 action AGAIN on www.eventridermasters.tv