Phillip Dutton and Ben Lead After Bromont CIC3* XC

Phillip Dutton delivered owner Sarah Kelly the perfect Birthday present Saturday by jumping a steady clear around the challenging CIC*** track at Bromont in fine drizzle and maintaining his dressage lead going into the final phase.  Ben has had a year off due to injury and Phillip has only competed him lightly this year but said he was pleased with his fitness and how he responded to Derek Di Grazia’s course, and now he hopes to talk to Sarah about possibly taking him to Blenheim in the Fall.  Like most of the riders, Phillip agreed that the course was tough, and the overnight rain made it even more testing, but added that the footing at the fences was fine, it was just in between the jumps that it was what in racing terms might be described as ‘slow’; not deep by any means but definitely tiring for the horses, and for some horses or riders that might have been a new experience he said, “but that’s all part of the sport”.

Lauren Kieffer and R.F Cosima moved up into second place after what seemed to be a lovely clear, they certainly looked to be going beautifully everywhere I saw them, and pulled up to lots of pats, and of course David O’Connor close behind in the golf cart!  Hopefully this will be some small consolation for the very annoying glance off at the corner in the arena on Veronica shortly after a lengthy hold  in the CCI*** division earlier – I didn’t see it, and I haven’t spoken to Lauren about it, but I saw them before she was held and they were cruising along and sailed effortlessly through the coffin, and then I saw them towards the end of the course when they’d got their groove back and they made the massive table on a bending line to an open corner look easy. I realise that’s just part of the sport, but nonetheless…..grrrr!

Jessie Phoenix dropped down one place from 2nd to 3rd with time penalties; she was trying out a new bit today on Pavarotti on Clayton’s advice  – a pelham and as usual with this horse, no noseband. Undeniably talented, but very, very strong she rides him incredibly well and sat like a limpet when he hit the solid corner after the downhill upright rails before the arena.

Caroline Martin and Titanium moved up four places into fourth position with the fastest clear of the division, and looked copybook through the arena fences

In an already tiny field of just nine starters, Derek’s cross country decimated the field even further and Sally Cousins with Westerly rounded out the top five and the only finishers. Ian Roberts and Faolan fell on the flat before Fence 17, but both horse and rider are fine although Waylon did say his dad will be a bit sore Sunday. Nicole Parkin and Lexus were having a super round until she admitted to taking a bit of a long one at Fence 17 and they stumbled on landing and couldn’t recover, and Nicole’s coach Phillip Dutton told us she’s kicking herself.  EN’s Abbie Golden fell with Arundel at the solid corner where Jessie Phoenix had such a lucky escape, and Sally Cousins, who looked to be having a fantastic go on Ideal Contini also fell later on course.  Sally had a smoking round in the CCI*** on Tsunami though, and said that she’ll see how she comes out of the weekend as to whether Burghley is on the cards this fall, but she did add that ‘Sue’ jogged all the way back to the barns from the cross country and was full of beans so I’d say that’s a pretty good sign. Sally ruefully observed that although the damp, chilly weather certainly hadn’t done anything to improve Sue’s dressage performance it seemed to have given her extra energy on course, and she was feeling terrific, so I suggests she bring me with her to England in September just to make sure there’s plenty of rain and cold weather!

Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini

Abbie Golden and Arundel

Ian Roberts and Faolan

Nicole Parkin and Lexus

Well Done to all the jump judges, volunteers and of course the grooms and support crew who worked all day in the drizzle, rain and damp  – EN salutes you and thanks you! The Final Horse Inspection starts bright and early Sunday morning at 8am so hopefully all the  horses and their connections will be tucked up in bed, with cosy blankets in time for a good night’s sleep. Thank you again to everyone who helped make today such a safe and successful one, and looking forward to seeing you at the show-jumping tomorrow – Go Bromont Eventing!

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