Thomas Carlile for France, rewrote the Event Rider Masters (ERM) history books at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials, to win the £50,000 third leg of the 2017 series.
Riding the 9-year-old stallion Upsilon, Carlile became the first rider in the series to lead a ERM leg across all three phases. On Day 1, they delivered a stunning dressage test, scoring a remarkable mark of 30.8 - the lowest ever seen across the entire series and a personal best for the combination. Then, following a faultless show jumping performance on Day 2, the combination set the Barbury crowd alight with a superlative jumping round on the cross-country. Carlile added just 1.6 time penalties to his dressage score and scooped the £16,000 first prize. The result was an all-time record finishing score in the ERM series of 32.4.
“All my words go to Upsilon, he is superb” said Carlile reflecting on his outstanding ERM win. “I just sit on him and let him get on with his business and he has risen to the occasion this weekend. He’s a class act and is certainly on form and hopefully there is a still lot more to come from him”.
Carlile also joins 2016 ERM champion Oliver Townend (GBR) as the only rider in the entire series to have topped the podium twice. His Barbury win positions Carlile at the top of the overall 2017 ERM series scoreboard with 56 points. Sarah Cohen (GBR) is in second with 51 points and Andrew Nicholson (NZL) is lying third with 50 points.
Thomas Carlile and Upsilon. Benjamin Clark/Event Rider Masters Photo.
Nicholson and Todd secure second and third for New Zealand
New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson, riding last year’s Leg 3 winner Nereo, was unable to catch the French combination. Nicholson jumped clear in the showjumping but added one-time fault, then delivered another masterclass on the cross-country, but 5.6 time penalties meant he had to settle for second place, finishing on a score of 41.5. Although visibly delighted, this ended the New Zealander’s five-year reign at his local event at this level.
Nicholson, paid tribute to his horse Nereo saying; “Nereo did a wonderful job. We stayed in a nice rhythm on cross-country as I felt Thomas and Upsilon had a strong lead, so didn’t want to scorch around trying to catch them. I expected them to deliver and they did. My fellow is a wonderful horse and we know each other very well. I am delighted for him and all his connections”.
Former Double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd (NZL) celebrated his first ERM podium finish, taking third place. A win or placing in the series has eluded Todd to date, but his ride Leonidas II was foot perfect in both the show jumping and cross-country, finishing on a score of 42.3.
“It’s gone very well this weekend. I have been fighting ERM demons in previous legs, but it’s all come together today. Barbury is one of the most beautiful eventing venues in the world and it’s a great to be part of the series and finally get on the podium!”.
The only rider to complete the Barbury cross-country inside the optimum time was ERM debutant Sidney Dufresne (FRA) riding Tresor Mail, who secured fourth place for France. The pair blazed around the course, becoming the only combination in the competition on their dressage score of 43.3.
The U.S. representatives, Hannah Sue Burnett riding Jacqueline Mars' RF Demeter and Lauren Kieffer riding Jacqueline Mars and Debbie Adams' D.A. Duras both jumped clear cross-country rounds to finish in 10th and 15th respectively.
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)
The Event Rider Masters continues next weekend in France, at Haras de Jardy (15th and 16th July) for the fourth leg of the 2017 series.
All the action from this weekend can be watched again at Eventridermasters.tv and a highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels from Thursday 13 July, including Sky Sports in the UK at 7pm.
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This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).