Canter in command at Blair

Ros Canter’s fabulous run of form continues at FEI Defender Blair Castle International Horse Trials; she has three horses in the CCI4*S and at the close of the dressage phase lies in first, second and fifth. Her final ride, Izilot DHI, has a commanding lead after scoring 24.8, while Rehy Royal Diamond sits on 29.3 and MHS Seventeen 30.3.

“Izilot DHI is possibly the most talented horse I have ever sat on, but also the quirkiest. He’s taught me a huge amount, with some fabulous results but also a few little blips. He’s hugely exciting to ride and a pleasure when he is in the mood he is in today. It’s always a case of keeping his mind in the right place and keeping him happy and onside,” Ros explained.

Storm Straker on Fever Pitch and Aaron Millar riding Count Onyx have prevented a clean sweep by Ros.

New Zealand’s new leader
New Zealand’s Caroline Powell has deposed the overnight leader, George Bartlett, in the CCI3*L. George and Conpierre now lie in second but Caroline’s ride, Legally Grey, has almost a four penalty advantage, sitting on a score of 24.3.

“The horse was bought for Fiona Lambert for her birthday, and when presented with his passport someone said, ‘oh, it’s a bay filly’ – that’s where the name came from, he’s a grey gelding! I was very pleased with him today. I’ve been away and everyone has worked hard to get the horses ready to come up here. They’ve done a great job.”

Wills Oakden’s Keep It Cooley was the only other horse to post a sub-30 mark, completing the current top three.

Girl Power
In the CCI2*L, Emma Carmichael has dropped to third place with Rio Hall’s Georgie Girl topping the table on 24.6. Originally produced by Emily King, Rio bought the mare ahead of the 2020 season and the pair has posted some good results, including winning a CCI2*S at Kelsall Hill last year.

“I’m so, so chuffed. That was by far the best test she has ever done, she was with me the whole way,” said Rio, who is based with Sam Ecroyd whose mother bred the mare for Sam, but she didn’t grow enough. “She’s very sensitive but with the heart of a lion – although she does like things her way. We love coming to Blair, it’s the most stunning venue – and all to play for tomorrow!”

Amelia England and Eluna are currently in the runner up spot, on the same overall score as Emma Carmichael. Eluna has Blair experience, completing the CCI2*L here two years ago with Arianne Finlay in the saddle. Amelia took over the ride last year, winning Blair’s CCI1*.

The two CCI1* sections are headed by Robyn Gray on Jazz Time and Annabel Walsh with DHI Funnyman. Robyn was offered the ride on Jazz Time, a homebred of owner Margaret Francis, at the beginning of the season, and describes her as, “so much fun!”

Ireland’s Kitty Cullen and Coppenagh Spring Sparrow lead the Pony CCI2*S class, with Chloe Chan and Blennerville Rua hard on her heels.

For more information on any aspect of this year’s Defender Blair Castle International Horse Trials, visit the website.

Photo: CCI3*L leaders Caroline Powell and Legally Grey © Athalens

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