British in-form rider Gemma Tattersall leads the way heading into Sunday’s cross-country finale of the Barbury International Horse Trials.
Tattersall holds pole position in the headline CIC3* class on Quicklook V, following up a dressage score of 38.2 penalties with a showjumping clear round to hold an advantage of almost three penalties over Pippa Funnell and Billy The Biz.
Sussex-based Tattersall, the highest placed British rider when the she finished third at this year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, has had a week to savour, having been selected to make her Olympics debut in Rio next month. Funnell, who is the British travelling reserve for Brazil with Billy The Biz, also looks in strong form.
Australian Christopher Burton lies third on Polystar I, moving up a place after Oliver Townend decided to retire Armada following dressage, with Laura Collett holding fourth sport aboard Grand Manoeuvre.
There was British success in all three of Barbury’s three CIC2* sections, with William Fox-Pitt, Flora Harris and Tom McEwen all delivering winning performances.
Fox-Pitt triumphed in section C, where just 0.8 cross-country time faults collected on the rapidly-improving Secret Night saw him claim a narrow victory from American Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, riding Fernhill By Night, with David Britnell and Continuity finishing third.
Fox-Pitt has high hopes for the Catherine Witt-owned Secret Night, and it will be no surprise if the horse continues going from strength to strength with one of world eventing’s leading riders.
Harris took top honours in section D, piloting Monart’s Masterpiece to top spot after a stylish cross-country display saw them finish clear inside the time on a final score of 42.3 penalties.
Assessing her winning ride, Harris said: “He’s very sensitive and tricky and quite hot in the dressage, but so talented. To come to Barbury and win is fantastic. This is the fastest I’ve been with him. The course rode really well, and so did the ground – quick, but not hard.”
New Zealander Andrew Nicholson and Liberto II were the closest challengers, 1.1 penalties behind in second spot, with Catherine Burrell and urzan taking third.
McEwen, meanwhile, prevailed in section E on the aptly-named Joyride, but it was a close-run contest as Germany’s Franca Luedeke finished second, just 0.5 penalties behind, with Imogen Murray and Ivar Gooden filling third place.
The latest leg of the Event Rider Masters series also got under way at Barbury on Saturday, and it was overseasa riders that dominated following a busy of dressage action.
Heading into Sunday’s showjumping action, Brazilian Marcio Jorge leads the way aboard Lissy Mac Wayer on a score of 32.5, with Sweden’s Hedvig Wik in second with Chippieh, and Nicholson holds third on his seasoned campaigner Nereo.
The highest-placed British rider following dressage is Rio Olympics-bound Izzy Taylor on Be Touchable, with Townend and Cilnabradden Evo the only the other home-based combination inside the top 10, holding ninth spot overnight.