Jun 08, 2024

Britain's Bellissimo Takes the CCI4*-L Lead at MARS Bromont CCI

By Michelle Dunn - Edited Press Release
Lucienne Bellissimo (GBR) and Dyri took over the lead in the MARS Bromont CCI4*-L, heading into Saturday's cross-country day at the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park. Cealy Tetley photo

Bromont, Quebec, Canada—June 7— At the end of two days of competition at the MARS Bromont CCI4*, the number two ranked eventing rider in the world, America’s Boyd Martin, sits first or second in exactly 50% of the divisions offered. And in the CCI2*-L, he’s in first and second.

But it’s Great Britain’s Lucienne Bellissimo with Horse Scout Eventing's Holsteiner gelding Dyri who sits atop the coveted CCI4*-L, laying down a beautiful test to score 26.0, a full five points ahead of her closest rival (Martin with Miss LuLu Herself on 31.5). Allison Springer (USA) with No May Moon are just half a point behind in third (32.1) going into what will most certainly be an influential cross-country day Saturday.

Bellissimo, who competed in the 4*-S at the 2023 event with Tremanton, is hoping this weekend at Bromont will serve as the perfect preparation, or at least stepping stone, for the next phase in 12-year-old Dyri’s (Diara x La Calera) career.

“I love [Bromont], it actually reminds me a lot of being back at home in Europe or England,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful track and a typical Derek [di Grazia] course. You just keep riding, and if you’re riding well and your horses are trusting you, it’s fantastic. And I figured if [Dyri] jumps around this well, then I’m hoping he’s kind of maybe ready to have a bash at [the Maryland 5 Star in October]. And if not then we’ll keep coming out until he is.

“The goals today were to try and improve a little bit with his canter work, both the changes and the canter half-pass, and I felt we did that. We’ve got a bit of a different system now with the way I’m asking him for his changes. He’s a sensitive horse and can sometimes be a bit of a slow-thinking horse, and the canter’s very big. So luckily today I think it was better, a bit more reactive at the right time. His canter work, again, in the half-pass felt a bit more supple and just a little bit more letting me ride him once he hits the centre line. I genuinely think that we can get this test a lot better by this time next year, hopefully.”

Canada is well represented in the CCI4*-S, holding four of the top five placings at the end of Friday with just fractions of points separating the leaders.

Canadian Olympian Jessica Phoenix and Watson GS lead the Canadian-heavy CCI4*-S division at the MARS Bromont CCI. Cealy Tetley photo

Long-time Canadian team member Jessica Phoenix sits in the lead with Watson GS, on 27.4 penalties, with teammate Karl Slezak and his 2023 Lexington CCI4*-S winner Hot Bobo (by Arkansas), the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare owned by Slezak and Katlyn Hewson.

Phoenix's efforts to produce the 13-year-old Trakehner gelding (Humble GS x Woodstock GS), who she co-owns with Charlotte Schickedanz, the right way were rewarded today; despite the opening of the heavens during their test, they scored a personal best to take the lead.

“We’ve just kind of slowly produced him up the levels,” Phoenix remarked. “He’s done four four-star longs now and a lot of Grand Prix show jumping as well. He’s obviously a bigger boy, so it took him longer to really get his strength on the flat, but boy what a weekend for him to come out and do his personal best. He’s kind of been knocking at the door for a while now, but it’s just so rewarding to bring a horse along and to have them for that long and feel them come in and be so confident and reliable in the ring.”

Boyd Bests Himself with Another Low Score of the Day

World number two ranked eventing rider, America's Boyd Martin, with Fetiche Des Rouges. They lead the CCI2*-L heading into Saturday's cross-country phase at the MARS Bromont CCI. Cealy Tetley photo

After posting the low score of the day Thursday, Boyd Martin tapped out another Friday in the CCI2*-L division with Fetiche des Rouges, a 9-year-old Selle Francais gelding of whom Martin is quite excited. The horse was formerly campaigned through the CCI3* level with British rider Laura Collett and Ireland’s Aoife Clark, before joining Martin’s program at the start of 2024.

“He’s a real blood horse,” Martin said of the Fetiche des Rouges Syndicate-owned gelding. “He gallops like the wind and is an incredible jumper, and he’s still young. It felt like he was a perfect horse to bring a large group of people around. He’s a beautiful mover and he’s one of those horses that lifts a gear and gets better once you go into the ring and he starts sort of strutting around and showing off for the judges. He’s lovely and calm, but when he gets a little excited he puffs up and shows off a bit.”

Martin also sits in second with Thursday's ride Kolbeinn, on their score of 21.7 penalties.

The leaders of the CCI3*-L, U25 CCI3*-L and U25 CCI2*-L remain unchanged ahead of Saturday. Cross country will begin at 9 a.m. with the CCI3*-L divisions, followed by the CCI4*-L at 11:11 a.m., the CCI4*-S at 12:35 p.m., and the CCI2*-L at 2:40 p.m.

If you are not able to be here in person, a free live stream will be provided across all phases of competition, produced by RNS Video Media and carried on the Bromont YouTube channel as well as Horse & Country at no charge to viewers.

Cross-Country start times can be found on the MARS Bromont CCI website and real-time live scoring here on EventEntries.com

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