Jul 06, 2017

Scene is Set for the “Battle of Barbury”

Andrew Nicholson riding Nereo en-route to winning Leg 3 of the 2016 Event Rider Masters at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials. Libby Law Photo.

An area of outstanding natural beauty, home to the iron age fort of Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, will provide the stunning backdrop for Leg 3 of the 2017 Event Rider Masters (ERM). The £50,000 ERM competition features 40 of the world’s best event riders, representing 11 nations at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials on the 8th and 9th of July. 

Nicholson’s Remarkable Barbury Record

Locally based Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and the 17-years-young Nereo return to Barbury on their first run since their victory at Badminton in May. The pair are a favourite combination to top the ERM podium for the second consecutive time at Barbury. Prior to last year’s ERM victory, Nicholson also won the last four of Barbury’s own CIC3* competitions riding Avebury. In 2015 the combination also delivered the current lowest Barbury finishing score at this level, of 33.9. 

The New Zealander is also one of only two riders in the ERM series to have completed a leg in the 30s, the other being Britain’s Gemma Tattersall. He achieved this last year when winning on Nereo, finishing on a penalty score of 39.6. 

Commenting ahead of Leg 3 of the Event Rider Masters, Nicholson said;

“This weekend will be tough competition. The fantastic prize money on offer across the ERM really has inspired the riders. It’s a very strong field but Nereo is fit and well and we plan to keep hold of our Barbury and ERM crown this weekend”. 

However, an incredible field of horses and riders in the third leg of the ERM means Nicholson will have to produce another world class performance to secure both an historic sextet of CIC3* Barbury wins, as well as the third leg of the ERM series for the second time. 

Carlile and Upsilon a Major Force

Frenchman Thomas Carlile and the grey stallion Upsilon have made the trip across the channel this weekend for their fourth ERM appearance. This combination has secured podium finishes in all of their previous ERM starts, including a win in the sixth leg in the 2016 series. Bar a mistake in the show jumping at Leg 1 earlier this year, they have proved very strong across all three phases, finishing in the top five in over 90% of their international starts. Carlile and Upsilon are strongly fancied for another podium finish this weekend, if not the top spot. 

Awesome International Field at Leg 3 

Oliver Townend (GBR) arrives at Barbury yet to score 2017 series points. However, Townend is an outstanding series performer, having won two ERM legs last year as well as being crowned the overall 2016 series champion. His ride this weekend is Cooley Master Class who has been lightly campaigned at international level, but has won his last two CIC3* starts. No doubt Townend will be hungry to score valuable series points this weekend to maintain his ERM series crown. 

Gemma Tattersall (GBR) partners Pamero 4, a ride she has recently acquired. Tattersall became the first female rider to win a leg of the series at Chatsworth in May with Quick Look V. If Tattersall can deliver similar form to her previous ERM performances she could become the first competitor in the whole series to win multiple legs riding different horses.

Marcio George (BRA) currently sits in second on the 2017 ERM table with 37 points behind the series leader Sarah Cohen (GBR) on 51 points. He holds the lowest ever dressage score at Barbury of 32.5, which he set last year with Lissy Mac Wayer. This weekend Marcio rides Coronel MCJ, who makes his third consecutive appearance in the 2017 series, having finished ninth and eighth respectively in Legs 1 and 2. 

American competitors Hannah Sue Burnett and Lauren Kieffer both make their ERM debut this weekend. Burnett rides one of the most experienced horses in the field, RF Demeter, who has made 45 international starts in 10 years; although this combination are new to each other this season. Kieffer rides the 9-year-old D.A. Duras.

Remarkably the double Olympic Champion Sir Mark Todd (NZL) has yet to make an impact on the series. This weekend Todd rides his 2016 Olympic horse Leonidas II. The rider of the 20th century boasts strong previous form at Barbury and is certain to have his sights set firmly on a podium finish this weekend. 

Exceptional in all Three Phases at Barbury

An exceptional performance from horse and rider across all three eventing phases will be required to win the third leg of the ERM. 

  • No winner at CIC3* level at Barbury has sat outside the top five after dressage in eight of the last nine runnings
  • Every winner of an ERM leg has jumped clear in the show jumping phase
  • The cross=country optimum time at Barbury is notoriously difficult to achieve, so a swift performance in this phase will be key

All the action from Barbury Leg 3 can be viewed live and for free at eventridermasters.tv

•  Saturday, July 8 – Dressage: 10:15 a.m. (GMT)
•  Sunday, July 9 – Show jumping: 9:15 a.m. (GMT), Cross-country: 2:15 p.m. (GMT)

A highlights program will be aired across global TV channels from Thursday 13 July, including Sky Sports in the UK at 7pm.

For Leg 3 competitors, start times, information, and live stream http://eventridermasters.tv/events/2017/barbury-castle


About the Event Riders Masters

The Event Riders Masters (ERM) is an eventing series consisting of seven legs in 2017. Each leg will feature 40 of the world’s leading event riders and horses, competing in the three eventing phases; dressage, show jumping and cross-country

Now in its second year, it has expanded onto mainland Europe and includes seven legs across England, Scotland, Germany, and France and with a guaranteed total of £400,000 in prize money across the seven legs it establishes the series as the most valuable in the sport of eventing in 2017. Ran over two days, as opposed to four, the shortened CIC3* format specific to the ERM series, features seeded dressage with music chosen by the riders, and the show jumping and cross-country phases run in reverse order of placing.  A ‘kiss n cry’ podium is also a feature at the end of the cross-country course.

Each leg will be live streamed and available to view in Britain and internationally at Eventridermasters.tv. A one hour highlights program of each ERM leg will be aired internationally across satellite channels including Sky Sports Mix.

The seven competitions hosting a ERM leg in 2017 are:

• The Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials 12th -14th May (ERM 13th - 14th May) 
• Internationales Wiesbadener PfingstTurnier (Germany) 2nd – 5th June (ERM 2nd – 3rd June)
• The St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials 6th -10th July (ERM 9th – 10th July)
• Haras de Jardy (France) 14th - 17th July (ERM 15th – 16th July)
• Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park, presented by BETA 4th – 6th August (ERM 5th – 6th August) 
• Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials 24th – 27th August (ERM 26th – 27th August)
• Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 13th – 17th September (ERM 15th – 16th September)

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