It’s been Izzy Taylor‘s week, and a fitting last hurrah to what has been her most successful season ever. Rounding off the morning’s showjumping session, she jumped an effortless double-clear to clinch the six-year-old World Championship with Monkeying Around, with whom she has led throughout.
“He’s just super,” said Izzy of the dressage-bred Hanoverian, who has now finished on his dressage score in both of his CCI* runs and makes it six wins out of 10 runs this season, never finishing out of the top ten in 2017. “He’s a very good jumper, so I went in thinking that I ought to jump clear, but it’s a massive atmosphere for a six-year-old and you never know how they’ll react. He’s got a great brain, though, and he showed that – everyone was cheering for Paul Tapner when I rode in and he just got on with it and jumped brilliantly. He’s a very exciting horse for the future.”
Owned by Izzy’s partner, Charlie Sands, Monkeying Around was originally bought as a sales prospect, but Izzy spotted his potential.
“I hunted him hard as a rising-five-year-old, and then hunted him hard again the following winter, and he’s come out as a six-year-old very consistent and with a great brain,” she said.
This morning’s showjumping proved considerably more influential than yesterday’s cross country, with 16 out of 39 starters jumping double-clears. The field had been slightly thinned by the withdrawal of Peter Flarup and Fascination before the final horse inspection, at which Sarah Ennis’ Cooley Cosmopolitan Diamond was also spun.
It was tight at the top with no margin for error, and as pole after pole came down in the early rounds the pressure was packed on for the final riders. Rebecca-Juana Gerken and Day of Glory 4 of Germany succumbed to green errors, pulling two rails and slipping from ninth to 16th place. France’s Mathieu Lemoine also dropped out of the top ten, adding four faults with Better Win and slipping from seventh to 11th place. This allowed Great Britain’s Hayden Robert Hankey and You’ve Got The Lux to move into 10th place from 14th, finishing on their dressage score of 46.7.
Ireland’s Elizabeth Power and DSL The Entertainer took some pressure off the leaders when they brought a pole down, putting them on a score of 45 and moving down to fifth place. Sarah Bullimore and Corouet suffered the same misfortune and dropped to sixth.
The door was opened for fifth-placed Tom Carlisle and Birmane and eighth-placed Jesse Campbell and I Spye to move up to third and fourth, respectively, giving the French rider his ninth consecutive finish without adding to his dressage score at this competition.
Second-placed Paul Tapner‘s double-clear aboard Bob Chaplin was bittersweet, as he finished half a penalty point behind Izzy Taylor, despite having gone off-course in his dressage test.
“I’m exceptionally disappointed and very upset and in a lot of trouble with my team, because I made a mistake that cost me the lead,” he said.
A very nearly foot-perfect showjumping round by Jonty Evans and John the Bull saw them cross the finish just a fraction of a second over the optimum time, adding a penalty and leaving them in ninth place, a placing above their overnight position but two places down from where a double-clear would have put them.
Tiana Coudray and G knocked just one rail to move from 21st to 18th place, finishing on a score of 52.5, and fellow British-based American Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver did the same to add four faults and finish in 36th.
Mike Winter and Center pulled three rails and added a time penalty but stayed in 37th place.
We’ll be back soon with full coverage from the seven-year-old championships, and a gallery of the week’s action on our Facebook page. You can also catch the livestream on the Le Lion website, so pour yourself a glass of burgundy, grab a croissant, and ignore the members of your family who say that this is problematic behaviour first thing in the morning: you’ve got French eventing to watch, and it must be done properly.