Huddersfield born Oliver Townend took a step closer to realising a childhood dream when he finished atop the leader board in the Equi-Trek CCI3*.  Riding Tom Joule’s MHS King Joules, Oliver, was thrilled with the 11 year old Gareeb-sired gelding.  They were the first combination in front of the judges in the final group of riders and were consistent, active and well presented to score 37.9 to overtake long time leaders, Sammi Birch and Hunter Valley II of Australia.

Oliver said afterwards; “That was a very good start.  We were really hopeful for the horse to put up a big performance; we know that he’s very capable.  He’s got everything he needs to be absolutely exceptional and glad we put it all together in the dressage today.  He’s a good horse full stop.  If I do my job and he does his, then it’s all positive.  It’s very special here; a fantastic event that I’ve been coming to for as long as I can remember.  I’m extremely pleased with the horse and even more pleased for his owner, Tom Joule.  Let’s hope we’re in the same set up on Sunday night.”

Sammi came close to beating both Oliver and herself with her second ride, The Court Jester, but 40.4 just wasn’t quite enough and left her in third jointly with local heroine Nicola Wilson riding James and Jo Lambert’s Bulana.

The CCI class kicks off tomorrow’s cross country action at 9:00am.

Today was the turn of eventing’s newest concept, the Event Rider Masters, to get underway.  The dressage is run in ranking of the horse’s last five scores so the combinations should get better as the last few perform.   Maxime Livio was the first to set the podium alight with his 40.8 aboard Pica D’or to continue the French run of form the sport is witnessing.  He kept first spot for a long time until Aussie Bill Levett and the smart moving Shannondale Titan, owned by Claire Prentice and Bill, put up a largely mistake-free test to post our first sub-40 score of 39.0  China’s Alex Hua Tian followed Bill with Don Geniro and very nearly bettered his score but was just 1.1 penalties short.  Third last to go was British-based Texan Clark Mongomery with Holly and William Becker’s stunning Loughan Glen and they were a cut-above.  Even a momentary lapse of memory which resulted in an error of course couldn’t spoil the test which clocked up 36.5 penalties and top spot.

Clark, making his second visit to Bramham, commented; “He was a really good boy!  I must have enjoyed last night’s barbeque a bit too much as my mind just went blank in the walk!  I’m nervous ahead of tomorrow but really looking forward to it!”

The Event Rider Masters complete their show jumping from 8:30am before tackling Ian Stark’s cross country last tomorrow afternoon from 3:15pm.  You can catch all the ERM action via live stream on www.eventridermasters.tv.

Tom McEwen found himself in a familiar position in the Bishop Burton College u25 CCI3* with Sammi Birch’s Toledo de Kerser as he was in 2013 when he won the under 25s title aboard Diesel.  The leaderboard shuffled a few times through the afternoon but it was Tom who finished on top with 40.4 on the tricky gelding.  Second place is occupied by Devon rider Emily King with Sir Patrick Beresford’s Charlemagne who she’s ridden since he was four.  They scored 43.9 with Bert Bolton and Purple Sands just behind on 46.6.   It’s tight at the top so all to play for tomorrow.

Tom commented; “Really pleased with him.  He’s a young horse and has been progressing well through the year.  There’s still a lot to work on to get to the end aim.   He’s not easy – a complete fruit loop at home and we can’t jump him at home.  But he’s really started to enjoy the shows now and is a fantastic horse; tricky but I like him for it.”

For full results and times for Saturday – click here

For today’s rider and event interviews – click here