In what may be the most bizarre EN cross-country preview since John’s infamously nauseating course run videos of yesteryear, we sent Le Chinch off to test-ride the Bromont CCI3* course.
He reported back that the course was “massive” (particularly when you’re only eight inches tall) and required a great deal of accuracy (we had to fish him out of the bushes on several occasions).
Indeed, if your horse has a corner problem, you’re not going to make it very far on Derek di Grazia’s big, technical course. There’s plenty to do out there and horses and riders will have their hands full from startbox to finish flags.
The track is very similar to last year’s with a few shake-ups here and there. Like last year, several riders have mentioned the coffin at #7 and #8ABC as a potential sticking point. A log to a ditch to two angled skinnies, the question will reward horses — and chinchillas — who look for their flags.
The course is challenging enough, but heaped on top of that is distance and terrain. Optimum time is 10 minutes on the mark and with Bromont’s rolling hills, even the fittest horses will start feeling the burn along the way. Today’s field is peppered with new-to-the-level horses and riders who haven’t had the experience of being at the eight- or nine-minute marker of a 3* course, and success will come to those who are both mentally and physically prepared to fight all the way to the finish.
Some rain late Friday left the turf just spongy enough. As usual it’s a bit boggy in places, and especially heading uphill riders may find that they need to take their foot off the gas pedal and let their horses feel their way up.
Take it away, Le Chinch!
Best of luck to all competitors. Alléz Concours Complet!