Yoshi makes history with Equi-Trek win

On a day where clear rounds were at a premium, Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa produced an faultless display with his Holstein bred Calle 44 to claim the 2017 Equi-Trek CCI3*.

Lying in third place after the first two phases, Yoshi had some pressure relieved when the two riders below him when defending champion Andrew Nicholson and Nicola Wilson had 12 and eight faults respectively, dropping them out of contention. Riding in a beautiful rhythm, Yoshi guided the 10 year round expertly giving most of the coloured poles inches of clearance, leaving him on 45.4 penalties.

Next in was Gloucestershire’s Sammi Birch for Australia who had no room for error aboard Hunter Valley II. Sadly, they lowered one rail which moved them behind Yoshi.

Then the final rider, Gemma Tattersall with the Pebble Syndicate’s Quicklook V. The omens were in the British pairing’s favour as the mare had never previously faulted in a three day event…the crowd had their fingers crossed. They were going well until ‘Pebbles’ uncharateristcally didn’t quite make the extensive spread of the triple bar and hit the back rail. They also added one time fault and victory was Yoshi’s.

It was a historic win as Yoshi became the first ever Japanese rider to win a CCI outside Japan, and our first winner from Japan at Bramham.

Yoshi has spent his Spring in Britain based and training with Pippa Funnell alongside his girl friend who’s training with William Funnell with a bid to make the Japanese show jumping team. With Calle 44, he’s had a great few months with top 13 placings at Belton and Burnham Market CIC2* and Chatsworth CIC3* last month and Bramham was the last event before he and Calle return to Germany and Dirk Schrade. The pairing competed at Bramham last year and finished 30th.

“I wanted to be competitive but winning wasn’t planned! He’s really careful showjumping, but sometimes a bit too careful XC!” declared Yoshi.

When asked what’s next for Calle, Yoshi said; “We will continue three competing him at three star this year. We’re heading back to Germany after today and will then make plans for the rest of the year.”

Gemma was understandably annoyed with the result; “I’m absolutely gutted, she [the horse] is as surprised as anyone to have a jump down. It’s her first showjumping fault at a CCI before. But it’s still second at Bramham, I’ll just have to come back next year!
“It was a seriously tough track today, one of the toughest I’ve seen at a recent three day, big oxers, The time was doable, I shouldn’t have got a time fault.

“I hope to be selected for the Europeans with her, she’s a really good championship horse. She’ll have a bit of a break but then will be gearing up for selection.

“She’s always felt like a superstar, she was a late starter after having a foal before she was broken as a six year old. She’s only 12 and unbelievably consistent – won CIC**, CCI** and CIC*** just need to win a CCI***.”

We’ve had an update from hospital on French rider Sebastien Cavaillon who fell on the cross country yesterday.  He’s had the first of two operations to mend damage to his pelvic area and is expected to make a full recovery.  His horse, Sarah D’Argouges, was uninjured.

Yoshi hopes his win, along with fourth spot for compatriot Toshiyuki Tanaka and Talma D Allou, will inspire other riders in Japan to dream big and train hard. With the form their riders are showing, Tokyo looks like coming at the right time for an exciting home team performance in three years’ time.

For full results – click here

Hear what a selection of riders had to say about their show jumping performances today – click here

Furlong takes Bishop Burton title

It was an exciting finish to the Bishop Burton CCI*** U25, Will Furlong had two fences in hand after the cross country and he needed them both after runners-up Gina Ruck and Rehy Too put the pressure on with a fast clear round. However, after such a strong cross country performance yesterday it was a deserved win for Will and his own Collien P2 who are now crowned U25 National Champions.

The tricky showjumping course, designed by Di Boddy, tested the young contenders in this renowned class, where previous winners include France’s Astier Nicolas on Piaf D’Neville in 2012 who are now current Olympic individual silver medallists. Charlotte Bacon and Last Touch, who sat in third overnight withdrew before the final horse inspection. This left two young French riders, Aurelien Leroy and Marie-Caroline Barbier, hot on the tails of the top two. However both knocked down three poles to allow 22-year-old Brit, Alicia Hawker, with six show jumping penalties to move up to third place.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all!” said Alicia, of Robert Hawker’s 10-year-old Charless RR, known as ‘Charlie’ at home, “He’s a phenomenal jumper but not keen on dressage.” Alicia had an incredible rise up the leaderboard from placing 24th after the dressage on 60.6, she added just eight time faults on the cross country phase yesterday to go into sixth for the final phase. “He did his first BE90 five years ago and he’s been challenging, he‘s very strong and used to cart me around the cross country, I thought he may be better suited to a male rider. However, he pinged round the cross country yesterday and was so genuine.”

The combination, based near Badminton, Gloucestershire, have only contested one CCI*** previously at Blenheim and this was their first time at Bramham. “I hope to qualify to do a four star on him and maybe head to Pau.” It has been a particularly successful month for Alicia, who recently graduated from Bath University with a First in Sports Performance, her plan is to now ride full time.

Gina Ruck impressed to finish runner-up with her own 15-year-old Rehy Too, the combination have an established partnership and have enjoyed success at Bramham before having finished fourth and fifth in previous years. “He’s a class jumper, I’m over the moon with him! I wanted to put a bit of pressure on Will today”. Gina definitely did just that and her fast clear round on her horse of a lifetime ‘Prince’ was a highlight of the class which had only three clears.

Purchased from Vere Phillips as a four-year-old, Prince was Gina’s first horse after representing Great Britain at pony level winning a team gold medal in 2007, they have started at Burghley twice but are yet to complete. “I’d like to get to Burghley this year and this time get all the way round! He’ll have a few weeks off now before getting him ready before heading to either to there or Pau.”

Will Furlong is definitely one to watch as his glittering young rider record proves, U21 champion in 2013 and double Young Rider gold-medallist in 2015, he has today added another title to the list. Will was a little nervous going into the final phase after Gina’s confident clear round, “I said I needed a few fences in hand yesterday and I was right! Today was a little bit lucky, but I’m thrilled.”

Will could have had two fences down and take the win but not three, he left the audience on the edge of their seats after rolling two poles and crossing the finish line with one time fault, securing the win on 57.4 penalties with his own Collien P2, also known as ‘Tinks’ at home. “It was nice psychologically to have a few in hand but she felt really fresh today. It’s only her first CCI*** so I’m really pleased. It was a tough course, quite twisty and the oxers were big and square, and this is her weakest phase”.

Will benefits from the support of the World Class Programme and hopes for another Nations Cup call-up before the end of the year with Tinks, a 10-year-old, grey mare by Carentan and his top horse from an exciting string. Making the long journey from his East Sussex base worthwhile, after his win today Will is looking to compete at the highest level in the near future “I’d like to go to Blenheim and qualify for a four star, it’d be great to go to Luhmuhlen next year.”

Izzy impresses to take the BETA title

It was all change at the top after a tricky showjumping course and influential cross country kept all the riders on their toes and audiences captivated in the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC***.

There was movement on the leaderboard after the showjumping, a twisty course in the morning downpour left many adding faults onto their dressage score. Dressage leader, Paul Tapner on Prince Mayo, had an unfortunate eight faults to drop to 14th place, and Gemma Tattersall moved from second to fifth after rolling a pole with new her new ride, the flashy Pamero 4. Whilst those with clear rounds were rewarded and moved up the leaderboard. Solid clears from Franky Reid-Warrilow, Willa Newton and Izzy Taylor pushed them right up into contention and Laura Collett moved up into second place on Grand Manouvere. Taking the lead was previous Bramham Horse Trials winner, Flora Harris upon the nine-year-old Master Imp-sired Monarts Masterpiece with just one phase to go.

Though kinder than the intense CCI*** course of the morning, Ian Stark’s cross country course was still ‘fast and furious’. The most influential fence on the course was 12ab, the Hollow, a rail with a steep slope down to a coffin back up to a brush arrowhead, which left some grinding to a halt at part A and many taking the longer route. It was an exciting finish to the afternoon, with the top fifteen running in reverse order, it was clear the time was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Then, with a flying round, the

USA’s Tiana Coudray, managed to sneak inside the time, eventually proving to be the fastest of the day, and flew up the leaderboard from 19th to the top, proving it could be done and inspiring speed queen, Izzy Taylor. Despite a sticky moment at the Carter Jonas moon fence when Trevidden left a leg, Izzy rode in her usual quick style to secure the second clear inside the time of the class and take the lead. Many within the top ten rode confident clear rounds but added too many time faults to stay in contention – including leader Flora Harris who, despite kicking for the finish, added 9.2 time penalties to move down to fourth place.

New Zealand’s Tim Price was one of the fastest of the contenders on Cekatinka, adding six time penalties which moved him to third place despite his ride looking a little hesitant at times. “She doesn’t give any more than she needs to, she’s quite calculated like that, but she always keeps going!” said Tim of the ten-year-old mare owned by Joanne Pullen. Tim has taken on the ride from his wife Jonelle whilst she prepares to give birth to the couple’s first baby – “I don’t want to give her back! She’s my favourite of the rides I’ve taken on from Jonelle, she reminds me of being a teenager in New Zealand when I first started out eventing – she’s the dark horse of the lot!”.

Paul Tapner had a rollercoaster of a day by his own admission, with his dressage leader, Prince Mayo, unfortunately retiring on course. Paul was thrilled to take second place on the experienced Yogi Bear VIII, “Yogi saved the day for me today! He’s a three star specialist and once I got the clear in the show jumping I knew I’d be in the money, it was a great result for him. It was a tough course and the time didn’t feel too achievable. There were several ‘S-shaped’ combinations on a bending line so it was easy to add strides and waste seconds making the time difficult.” Paul is aiming Yogi Bear for the Nations Cup at Aachen later in the year.

It was a fantastic win for Great Britain’s Izzy Taylor, who was thrilled with Patricia Turner’s Trevidden, a twelve year old by Fleetwater Opposition. “I haven’t even had him for a year yet but he’s proving to be a great cross country horse, he’s tough and did a super double clear today. The time was tight, with not many galloping stretches, but it suited my horse who is fast and you just need to get on and go! We’ve taken the CIC route with him this year to gain more experience but we might go to Burghley in the autumn.” Izzy had high praise for the competition, “I love Bramham, it’s a proper event with a proper cross country, it’s great to have a win here!”

For full results – click here

For rider interviews and comment – click here

Gemma and Will poised for Bramham glory

The rain made an unwelcome return on Saturday morning but that wasn’t enough to put off the locals from a chance to watch some top flight cross country action at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials. And those that shrugged off the weather weren’t disappointed.

The buzz amongst the riders in the Equi-Trek CCI3* was that this was one of Ian Stark’s trickiest tests to date with the rain adding to the difficulty factor. It was a test of the bond between even the strongest partnership with a number of technical questions, challenging lines and accurate riding.

Second to go was last year’s victor, Andrew Nicholson with promising nine year old Byrnesgrove First Diamond, owned by Mary Channer and an athletic clear for just 2.8 time penalties showed that Ian’s course was possible. This gave them the honour of clubhouse leaders.

The first of our major challengers was day one dressage leader Jesse Campbell with his own Cleveland and they set off full of determination. They were going well but a big leap over the ditch at 17a, the Hollow made the distance to part b difficult and they ran past, dashing any hopes of victory.

The fifth placed combination after dressage, Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa with his own Calle 44 put in a classy round with just 2.4 time penalties which made them our new leaders.

It was then on to the overnight leaders, Gemma Tattersall with the Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V. The pair are here chasing qualification for the European Championships…just to add that little extra bit of pressure. The pair made little of Ian’s course but for a slight waiver off line in the influential Equi-TrekR Roundhouse where they took the flag on the second corner. ‘Pebbles’ isn’t a full thoroughbred and the undulations of Bramham and Gemma said the conditions were testing for the mare. “She galloped as fast as her little legs could go,” she said. The clock stopped on 10.39, 16 seconds over the time allowed for 6.4 penalties, enough to overtake Yoshi.

A few horses later, the crowd’s interest was held by local star Nicola Wilson and Gerry & Mary Kemp and Janine Shewan’s One Two Many for their third trip round the park at Bramham. They finished sixth here last year and set off with a view to better that and laying 28th after dressage, they had their work cut out. The Chacoa sired gelding and Nicola then went on to put up the performance of the day – the only pairing to finish inside the optimum time on the CCI course and promoting them over 20 places up the leader board.

Sammi Birch from Australia loves Bramham and showed it once again today with a fantastic round with her own Hunter Valley – a fault free round was needed to overtake Gemma. They used the familiarity with the park well and put in a magnificent clear but 3.2 time penalties left them a fraction behind Gemma.

The final pair which could upset the leader board was Pippa Funnell and Sandman 7. The horse has been off after a crashing fall last season and Pippa has been working on building his confidence but a lack of ‘match practice’ caught them out at the tricky new ‘Spinney’ combination where he ran past the b element. Pippa didn’t want to upset him and calmly raised her hand to retire.

So it looked like Gemma had retained her place at the top…until a check of the leader board revealed that the fence judges at six felt that both of Quicklook’s shoulders hadn’t passed inside the flags and 50 penalties was awarded. The news soon got back to Gemma who was about to set off to walk the CIC course for her second ride and an objection was duly lodged. It was an agonising wait while the Bishop Burton College CCI u25s completed their rounds and the Ground Jury could then review the CCTV footage. After watching carefully, they all agreed that ‘Pebbles’ had jumped clear and the 50 was duly removed, leaving Gemma as the overnight leader.

Ian Stark’s course proved influential in the Bishop Burton College CCI3* u25 class with a real shake up of the top five.

Third placed Emily King was the first of the leading pack to set off was Emily King and Dargun and they started promisingly but picked up 20 penalties at the Woodhead Seeds Offset Rails at nine. The Devon rider wanted to give him a confident ride so continued on but then retired at the Bond Dickinson Pond at 20. Not their day but certainly ones to watch for the future.

East Sussex rider Will Furlong set off with his 2016 Hartpury CCI2* winner Collien P 2 looking like they meant business and were impressive, making light of every challenge, despite this being their first three star three day together. They passed through the finish flags to stop the clock on 10.25, agonisingly two seconds over the time for 0.8 penalties but this was good enough to promote them from sixth to first.

On to our dressage leader, Thibault Fournier with Siniani de Lathus who were going great guns until a misunderstanding at the Equi-Trek Roundhouse ejected Thibault out the side door, sadly meaning elimination. Next up was Gina Ruck for Britain with her horse of a lifetime, Rehy Too and they also impressed with a clear and ten time penalties to add to a dressage of 50.0 which too them from 14th to second.

Charlotte Bacon was another to impress with Last Touch who cruised round with just 2.4 time penalties to add to 59.8 dressage to give a British top three after the French dressage domination. However, Marie-Caroline Barbier gave the French fans much to cheer about with a clear and 18 time penalties raised her a place to fourth while dressage runner up Aurelien Leroy was also clear with Seashore Spring but steady to add 24.8 time.

At the end of the day Will said; I was a fraction disappointed with my dressage test, she was tense and lost a couple of marks. I’ve never been to Bramham before and was warned that the jumping is influential. It’s the mare’s first CCI*** and I had a fantastic round, there was some massive fences out there so  I was pleased to be just two seconds over the time. I had a hairy moment at the second water jump but she’s really gutsy and gave 100% today. The ground was really good and I was lucky that the rain eased for my round, I saw some slipping this morning so I put bigger studs in!

“She has a bit of a funny technique in the show jumping, she tends to go quite flat but she did jump clear at Hartpury. I’m lucky I’ve got over ten penalties in hand, I might need them!”

So for both sections, it’s all to play for in Sunday’s decisive show jumping test, subject to being passed fit in the final vet inspection. The Bishop Burton class is up first and Will is sitting pretty with an 11 point cushion over Gina but will he need it? A slight amend to the timetable means their jumping starts at 10:45 with prize giving at 11.45. The action then turns to the showcase Equi-Trek CCI3* at 1pm with the 2017 champion being crowned at 14.45. There’s less than a fence separating the top four so it’s tight; who will hold their nerve and leave the colour poles standing?

For full results – click here

Rider interviews – click here

A great day for Tattersall

The inform partnership of Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook V has continued their run to produce a stunning dressage display which the judges duly rewarded with an average percentage of 75.51 to leave a penalty score of 36.7 for the lead in the Equi-Trek CCI3*. The duo were winners of the first leg of the Event Rider Masters just a few weeks ago at Chatsworth and Gemma is hoping that ‘Pebbles’ can continue her form. “She was a little star in the arena today and just loves to perform. She was really settled and enjoying her work. It was a lovely test and I’m really pleased with her.”

Gemma has been focusing on her flatwork and the hardwork is paying off. “She’s improved so much in the last year, and so have I! I now have a much better understanding of dressage and what the judges want from a test. Today I had her connected and through meaning she was rideable and really confident in her work.”

Yesterday’s leaders Jesse Campbell and Cleveland held on for second with their 39.5 but there’s a new face in third in the shape of two time Bramham winner Pippa Funnell. Riding Sandman 7, whom she owns with mum Jenny and her mentor Ruth McMullen, she scored 40.6 for what she felt was a ‘clear round‘ test.

In the Bishop Burton College CCI3* u25 section, it was a day of French domination with seven of their riders filling the top ten. The leader’s tag is still held by Thibault Fournier with Siniani de Lathus but countryman Aurelien Leroy scored 43.4 with Seashore Spring to relegate Emily King to third.

Aurelien is making his second trip to Bramham but it’s the horse’s first. “I was really happy with the horse today but disappointed to make a mistake with one of my flying changes,” said Aurelin. But he feels it’s all to play for tomorrow. “I have a very good cross country horse and it’s a difficult course tomorrow with lots of effort required so I’m hoping for a good result.”

Paul Tapner maintained the ascendency for Australia with Prince Mayo on 42.1 in the British Equestrian Association CIC3* but last year’s winner Gemma Tattersall made it a truly excellent day at the office to slot into second with her new ride, Clive Smith’s Pamero 4.

The pair have had just two outings together at Open Intermediate level but have impressed but this will be their biggest test so far in a promising partnership. 2015 CCI winner Flora Harris lies third with Monarts Masterpiece with 43.3.

Saturday’s action gets underway at 8:30 with the BETA CIC3* show jumping in the Equi-Trek arena before the CCI section set off on Ian Stark’s 40 jumping effort cross country with the first horse going at 9:30. The BETA CCI3* u25 follow on and then a quick course change before the CIC comes to an exciting climax when the 2017 champion will be crowned.

Don’t forget that if you can’t be with us in person, all three classes will be live streamed in full via www.britisheventing.tv with a presenting team of Lizzie Greenwood Hughes, Ellie Kelly and Angus Smales.

For full results and times – click here

Hear what a selection of riders had to say after their tests – click here

Foreign flags fly high on day one

Day one at the 2017 Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials proved to be a corker with a truly international flavour across the three leader boards.

New Zealander Jesse Campbell ended the day atop the showcase section, the Equi-Trek CCI3* with his own Cleveland, or ‘Freddie’ to his friends.  A flowing test gave the duo a score of 39.5, the only sub 40 score of the section.  The performance may have caused issue for one fellow rider, Georgie Strang, as it knocked her off the top as long-time leader on 43.3 with Cooley Earl, owned by Lance and Diana Morrish. However all was forgiven as Jesse is Georgie’s other half!

The pair was split by Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa with Calle 44 right at the end of the day with a score of 43.0.

“He’s getting good at this phase.  He’s had a year at three star level and things are more polished as he’s more established. I’m very pleased and he’s feeling good,” said Jesse.  “He’s very talented but that has its costs!  He’s great one minute and really naughty the next – a bit of a diva!” he added.

Georgie was delighted with her day’s efforts; “I can’t believe it really, I’d never have dreamt that I’d be in this position.  I’ve always known he had a good dressage test in him!  I’ve found that you have to trust in your preparation and faith that you’ve done all you can to get your horse here in the best condition to do well.”

Thibault Fournier, a who combines a riding role at the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation, Cadre Noir, in Saumur, with a university course studying Biology to become a physiotherapist, is the leader in the Bishop Burton College u25 CCI3* section.  France has claimed this section twice in 15 years and have sent an eight-strong contingent to give their young talent a taste of Yorkshire so odds must be in favour of a third title heading across the Channel.  Riding Isabelle Fournier and his own Siniani De Lathus, Thibault impressed the judges with all three having him on top including a 76.15% from Andrew Bennie for a final score of 40.0.

“It’s my first time at Bramham and only my second three star so I’m very happy.  It’s an amazing place and I’ve never seen anywhere like it.  My horse was amazing from start to finish today. He can be tense but today he really concentrated,” commented Thibault.

Devon’s Emily King gave her mum Mary plenty of reasons to smile on her birthday with a polished 43.8 aboard Jane Del Missier’s Dargun for runners up position.  She said; “I’m really pleased.  He wasn’t feeling the best he could yesterday; he was really sharp and fresh in the wind and today the warm weather made him almost too relaxed.  He can be much more expressive with more ‘wow’ so could have been better but he was lovely and obedient.  He’s still young and this is his first three star so I’m really happy.”

17 years after his first victory here at Bramham, Aussie Paul Tapner occupies the top position in the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3* with Fred & Penny Barker and his own Prince Mayo with an average percentage of 71.92, giving a penalty score of 42.1 to take forward to the show jumping phase on Saturday morning.

“This beautiful Park holds a special place in my heart and I’ve bought very capable horses who could all win if they perform to their best,” said Paul. “I’m not surprised by today’s result as Prince Mayo is in prime form and has already won at three star level.  I’m a little disappointed in Yogi Bear’s score (46.0 for eighth) but he’s a little older and not in the ‘Spring’ of his career like the other one.”

It’s a transitional year for Paul has he’s now made eventing his ‘weekend activity’ as he’s made the decision to help focus on helping to run the successful Event Rider Masters Series.  He said, it’d be fantastic to win in my first year as a non-full-time professional and show I can still be competitive.”

Second placed and best Brit was Flora Harris, another rider who knows what victory feels like at Bramham as the 2015 CCI winner, was delighted with her test with Monarts Masterpiece, owned by Caroline Harris and Brenda Watson.  He’s relatively inexperienced at this level at nine and this is his best test to date.  We’ve changed technique with him a bit but he’s still very green but I felt he was pretty solid today,” she said.

Dressage continues tomorrow at 9:00am with the Equi-Trek CCI3* and the BETA CIC3* underway at 10:18.

For full results and times – click here

Listen to what the riders had to say on today’s action in our media section.