Astier Nicolas Leads Final Leg of Event Rider Masters Series After Dressage at Blenheim

Astier Nicolas on his way to winning the first ERM Series leg at Chatsworth with Piaf de B'Neville. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters. Astier Nicolas on his way to winning the first ERM Series leg at Chatsworth with Piaf de B'Neville. Photo courtesy of Event Rider Masters.

The final leg of the inaugural Event Rider Masters Series takes place this weekend at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials. The winner of this final leg will walk away with £16,000, but the results of this event will also determine the overall winner of the series, who will receive £30,000.

Frenchman Astier Nicolas, fresh off a team gold and individual silver performance at Rio, is currently leading the ERM CIC3* after dressage at Blenheim. He and Molakai, a 12-year-old gelding owned by Carole Broad, scored a 41.3 in dressage to take the lead, but barely.

Olympic Team Gold and Individual Silver medallist for France, Astier Nicolas is always one to watch. He was our first…

Posted by Event Rider Masters on Saturday, September 10, 2016

Astier and Molokai’s last three CIC3* events this year have seen the pair produce double clear cross country rounds across the board, but they have yet to show jump clear, and they have little breathing room after today.

Jonelle Price and The Marley and Me Syndicate’s Cloud Dancer II is tied for second with Thomas Carlile and Carlile Complet Eventing and Scea de Beliard’s Upsilon on a 41.7. Jonathan Paget and Frances Stead and Russell Hall’s Clifton Signature are fourth on 41.9, which happens to be the 12-year-old Hanoverian’s career best FEI dressage performance.

Even if Astier wins the ERM leg at Blenheim, he cannot garner enough points to win the whole series. There are currently four individuals in the running to win the overall series: Paul Tapner, the current series leader with 93 points; Gemma Tattersall, currently second in the series with 92 points; Oliver Townend, third with 74 points; Jonelle Price, fourth with 71 points.

#ERMeventing series leader and former Badminton Champion, Paul Tapner starts his Blenheim Palace International Horse…

Posted by Event Rider Masters on Saturday, September 10, 2016

With the point system being what it is (you can read up on the series rules and scoring here), there are a whole slew of possible outcomes based on where each of these four riders finish on the leaderboard at Blenheim. Horse & Hound’s Pippa Roome has made sense of it all and written out the detailed circumstances in this post.

As it stands now, Jonelle, Paul and Oliver are all in the top ten and within five points of the lead after dressage. Gemma sits within striking distance in 14th, less than one point outside the top ten leaderboard.

But then, our friends at EquiRatings think Karin Donckers has a good shot at the win.

Only time will tell! The scores are very close and the weather has added an extra element of difficulty. Show jumping for the ERM division gets underway Sunday at 9:30 a.m. local time followed by cross country at 1:15 p.m. Remember ERM is streaming the competition online. Watch live at eventridermasters.tv.

Blenheim Links: Website, Entries & Scoring, Live Stream, EN’s CoverageTwitter, Instagram

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