Bettina Hoy gave another brilliant dressage demonstration seven days after leading the field at Burghley as the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials began in Oxfordshire.
Last week, she ended day one as clear Burghley leader on Designer 10 (and later finished in sixth place). This time it was the turn of Seigneur Medicott to take centre-stage.
Their score of 32.9 penalties opened up a clear advantage as Blenheim’s CCI three-star class got underway, with 44 of 76 starters completing their dressage tests.
Britain’s Harry Meade, riding Orlando, lies second on 39.6, with American challenger Hannah Sue Burnett holding third spot aboard Harbour Pilot.
“He is still a very young horse, but he is a beautiful mover and really tries to concentrate,” Hoy said.
“He is a very exciting horse, and I feel that Blenheim is a very good stepping stone for him in terms of whatever lies ahead next year.”
Meade was similarly delighted with Orlando, who produced a neat, accurate test from an early draw that set the standard on day one.
“It is a three-phase competition, and you obviously want to give yourself the best possible start,” Meade said. “I was really pleased with him.
“He tries amazingly hard, and we will see how he goes in the cross-country on Saturday. It’s a good course — very big and square — and I am sure it will be a real test.”
Blenheim’s CIC three-star class for eight and nine-year-old horses saw a famous face at the top of the leaderboard midway through dressage.
Rio Olympian Pippa Funnell bounced back from her Burghley disappointment last weekend — she was one of several riders eliminated during cross-country following a fall — to take early pole position on MGH Grafton Street.
Funnell’s score of 35.2 penalties proved enough for a narrow advantage over France’s Sidney Dufresne, on Tresor Mail, with two British combinations — Tom McEwen (Toldeo de Kerser) and Willa Newton (Caja 20) holding third and fourth places overnight, respectively.
Image: Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott at Blenheim, by Adam Fanthorpe, courtesy of Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials