Tom Jackson and Kazuma Tomoto reigned victorious at the Childeric Saddles Little Downham International CCI4*-S, claiming a section apiece after an action-packed day in England’s Fens.
Japanese Olympian Kazuma made it back-to-back Little Downham 4* wins, having taken the title in 2022 with Brookpark Vikenti, riding Vinci De La Vigne to victory in Section F. The pair moved up from sixth after the dressage following a double clear, and one of the faster cross-country rounds of the day, adding just 3.2 time faults to their 31 dressage. They were followed in second place by Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On, who clinched a confidence-affirming clear after rerouting from Blenheim, while Boekelo-bound Yasmin Ingham and Rehy DJ secured third in this section.
It was all about the Toms in CCI4*-S Section E – Tom Jackson and Tom McEwen, that is. Tied after the dressage on 25.4, Tom McEwen and Kentucky CCI5* runner-up JL Dublin edged ahead after the showjumping with a faultless round in their preparation for Pau CCI5*. Tom Jackson’s Farndon had delivered a new personal best in the dressage but the pair were one second over the time allowed in the showjumping, picking up 0.4 of a time fault.
Jonathan Clissold’s track – which saw a 77% clear rate across the sections – is notorious for the time being influential, with only a handful of riders having achieved the optimum time at the CCI4* and Advanced level in the event’s history. Jackson and Farndon delivered the fastest round of the day, adding just 1.6 time faults to take the win ahead of McEwen and JL Dublin in second, also securing them a personal best finish at the 4* level. Piggy March and the former Nicola Wilson ride Coolparks Sarco secured third place with 7.2 time penalties en route to an end-of-season long-format run for the pair, while fourth place went the way of Bramham CCI4*-L winners Pippa Funnell and MCS Maverick. The win marked the culmination of a particularly successful couple of weeks for Jackson, who came to Little Downham after taking the CCI3*-S at South of England with Ask For Manchier, where he finished in the top seven with all six of his mounts across the classes.
The single Advanced section went to Gaspard Maksud and his World Championship partner Zaragoza II.
“I thought it was good cross-country course,” says Gaspard. “They’ve made a bit of change compared to the last few years and it was more technical than usual I thought. A good prep run for a person heading to Boekelo or Pau. My horse knows her job at that level now, and she’s just unbelievable cross-country.”
Little Downham’s autumn CCI4*-S plays a crucial role in the Autumn international schedule providing a pivotal run for those heading abroad for the CCI5* events in Maryland and Pau, plus the Nations Cup Final at Boekelo. The event once again attracted a world class field with six of the world’s top ten riders in attendance, including the reigning World and European Champion, plus all members of Team GBR’s Olympic Gold medal winning team.