Laura Collett and London 52 take their first-ever ERM leg at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials.
The first of the jumping phases saw just seven clear rounds, but Laura Collett's top position on the leaderboard wasn't to budge: she and London 52, the 10-year-old former showjumper who won Blenheim in just his third season of eventing, delivered the seventh and final clear round over the poles to hold their lead going into cross-country.
Chatsworth's CCI4*-S track is always a test of speed and stamina, it's no surprise that the course sees so few double-clears. Only six people have made the time here over the last decade, while the average time faults collected sits between 11.7 and 22.
On a mission
Laura Collett and London 52 left the start box on a mission, and sailed through the finish line having added just 7.6 time penalties.
"That horse is unbelievable," says a delighted Laura, marking her first ERM win – and £16,000 – here. "He's finished second so many times, and he only started at CCI4*-S last year. I just can't believe it, I'm the luckiest girl in the world to sit on London 52. Three years ago, he'd never seen a cross-country fence – he's come a hell of a long way, so roll on the future!"
Climbing up the leaderboard
Tom McEwen and Figaro van het Broekxhof, fresh off the back of their decisive win in Belton's Grantham Cup CCI4*-S, came home with just 4.4 time penalties, rocketing them from eighth place to a final second.
They shared the honour of being the fastest round of the day with Emily Philp, who climbed thirteen places to finish fifth.
Tom says, "I'm lost for words. I'm delighted for the horse, and delighted for the owners. It's a real busy track, and there's a lot coming up very quickly on the hills, so you've got a lot to take into consideration out there. It's about riding with your brain, rather than too much bravery."
Coming in third was Lucy Jackson and Superstition, who made bold strides into the top ten with a clear jumping round, taking her from 11thto 4th. A clean cross-country with 8.4 time penalties allowed her to take third place.
15 go forward
Each of the top 15 riders from the weekend’s competition adds crucial series points to the leaderboard, giving them the chance to fight for end-of-season honours and a £30,000 prize.
The second leg of the 2019 Event Rider Masters series is set for Wiesbaden in Germany on 7 and 8 of June, in the grounds of Biebrich Palace.
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