Izzy Taylor, who lives just 10 minutes away from the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials on the outskirts of Bicester, holds the lead in the CCI4*-L class after two days of high-class dressage.
Riding her own and Mark Sartori’s 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Monkeying Around (Bertoli W x Donnee), Taylor scored a superb mark of 22.7.
“I’m very happy with him,” said Taylor. “I’ve had him since he was a 4-year-old – it makes a massive difference when you can have them from the word go. He’s young to be here, but we hope to be competitive and hope still to be on the same score tomorrow.”
“Because I live so close, it means my children can come and watch and it makes the event very special – it is the most beautiful setting.”
Taylor has 2.7 penalties in hand over second-placed Piggy French, who scored 25.4 aboard Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry’s 10-year-old Brookfield Inocent. Young British rider Will Rawlin, who was on top after the first day of dressage with a mark of 24.2 with VIP Vinnie, has withdrawn as he didn’t feel the horse was 100%.
Buck Davidson is still the highest-placed U.S. rider, but now on his second mount, Carlevo, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Euroxommerce Caresino x Ramatuelle), owned by Carlevo LLC.
“He is good at that bit and we have to keep him on that score which will be a challenge,” said Davidson who sits in 10th on a 27.2. “On the whole, I thought he was quite good and there were no mistakes with both horses, so I am proud of both horses.”
Davidson’s first ride, Park Trader, now lies in equal 24th on a 29.2 as he looks ahead to tomorrow with the pair. “It is a good track. It is very hilly – there are a couple of steep pulls coming out of both waters. There is a lot of galloping and there are some distances that could be long or short, so I am going to go have a look now and work that out.”
Watch Katherine Coleman in the morning session.
Katherine Coleman and her own Monte Classico slotted just above Davidson and Park Trader with a 29.1 for 23rd position. The 10-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Monte Bellini x W-Sally) was 15th in the 8/9-year-old class here last year and went on to win his debut at the CCI4*-L level at Ocala Jockey Club last year.
“He has so much more in there, unfortunately, he has got me on his back,” joked Coleman after her test. “He went in and held his breath a little bit and then just dropped me in the contact a bit. He is so obedient, and he is lovely and I am very pleased with him, but there is still a lot more in there to come.”
A big talking point at Blenheim is the dry summer that England has been having and the hard going on cross-country, but officials are working to fix the footing. “It has been a bit difficult in the lead up because the ground has been so hard that it is just a fine line of managing them to get them fit enough without making them sore. He feels good and he is fit and hopefully, he is ready,” explained Coleman.
Cornelia Dorr was the final U.S. rider to do dressage today in her overseas debut with her own 13-year-old Zweibrucker gelding, Sir Patico MH (Sempatico M x Queen’s Little XX). The pair scored a 33.1 for equal 44th position in the 85-pair strong class.
Watch Buck Davidson and Cornelia Dorr in the afternoon session.
Blenheim CCI4*-S 8/9-year-old Class
Piggy French, the 2019 Badminton winner and part of Britain’s silver medal-winning team at the recent European Championships, is on the form of her life and is also in the lead in the highly competitive CCI4*-S for 8- and 9-year-old horses on Jayne McGivern’s 9-year-old Calling Card.
French said: “He’s a really beautiful horse – he’s stunning. Bar his changes, which he’s still a bit green at, he’s very impressive on the flat. He was beautiful to ride in there. He is green – this will be his first Advanced competition – and so I’ve come into it just really interested to see how he goes, and not really thinking that running flat out and getting the time will be what he’ll do this weekend. It’s more about the stepping-stone.”
The only U.S. participant in the CCI4*-S is Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp with Cooley Quicksilver, who are members of the upcoming Nation’s Cup team at Boekelo. The Monster Partnership’s 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal) scored a 34.0 for equal 29th.
The SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials continues tomorrow with cross-country for the CCI4*-L class and show jumping for the CCI4*-S.
U.S. CCI4*-L Cross-Country Ride Times:
U.S. CCI4*-S Show Jumping Ride Time:
Find the live scores and ride times here.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
While Great Britain has a strong lead in the team competition at Tokyo 2020 after the second session of dressage, the USA has climbed up two places to ninth courtesy of Phillip Dutton’s score of 30.5 on Z.
The world number one Oliver Townend has put Great Britain in gold medal position after the first of three sessions of dressage at the Tokyo Olympics.
Second into the arena, Townend delivered an extremely accurate performance and did not waste a mark on the flea-bitten grey 14-year-old Ballaghmor Class to score 23.6 - the fifth-best mark by a British rider at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings.
It’s the turn of the world’s best eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.