Posted on 27th April 2019
Leg one, day one of the 2019 Event Rider Masters Series at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials saw me working for the incredible tech-wizards, SCG and in control of the on-screen graphics. But perhaps more excitingly it also meant the launch of a number of BRAND NEW innovations including the EquiRatings Prediction Centre, Diarmuid Byrne’s very own “EquiRating’s Corner”, a joint venture between ERM Technology Partners, SAP Sports & the wonderful Wilberry Wonder Pony Charity (which could raise the charity upwards of £3000) and the ERM Fan League.
I’ll go into each of the exciting developments in detail over the next week but for now, it’s all about the dressage…
With the first session including 2018 ERM Series Winner, Chris Burton (AUS) on a new ride, a stunning Irish Dun ridden by WEG Silver Medallist Sam Watson (IRL) and some very exciting young riders – reigning U21 British Champion Yasmin Ingham (GBR) for one; it became very clear that the conditions underfoot were going to play a big part in the scores.
After much hype Chris Burton’s new ride, Lawton Chloe, performed a tense test but her quality didn’t fail to show through. Awarded a mark of 36.7, Eventing’s fastest man is sitting in 23rd place and with the Chatsworth time notoriously influential I wouldn’t bet against ‘Burto’ living up to his speed demon reputation tomorrow to climb the leaderboard with this stunning mare.
As the last rider of the first session, Sam Watson was very much expected to go into the lead with his beautiful Dun, Tullabeg Flamenco, and go into the lead he did. Not throwing away a single mark, Sam earned a smart 31 and sits in 8th place overnight less than 5 points behind the leader. Finishing 6th in the CCI4* S at Chatsworth in 2018, the pair are looking set to achieve an even better result this year.
The second session of the day included Tom McEwen (GBR) & his Grantham Cup winning partner Figaro van het Broekxhof (Fig), as well as two 2019 5* winners, Piggy French (GBR) and Oliver Townend (GBR) but the judges were not quite as forthcoming with the good marks as perhaps some thought they might be.
The first pair to enter the arena after the lunch break, Tom and Fig scored a 30.1 with only their two flying changes keeping them out of the much coveted 20s. Winning the prestigious and very hotly contested Grantham Cup at Belton on their dressage score of 33.5 earlier this season, these two are still very much in the running!
Having won a 4* section here last year, crossing the finish line just 1 second over the time, Oliver and his ride Ulises are sitting in 15th overnight. EquiRatings are predicting the pair have a 41% chance of finishing in the top 10 and a solid 20% chance of finishing in the top 3 – I wouldn’t bet against these two being not he podium when the final rider crosses the line either!
The final session of the day brought forward EquiRatings favourites Laura Collett (GBR) and the stunning London 52 (Dan), Chatsworth ERM 2017 winners Gemma Tattersall (GBR) and Quicklook V (Pebbles), German super star Julia Krajewski and Amande de b’Neville (Mandy to her friends) and ERM stalwart’s Bill Levett (AUS) and Shannondale Titan (Alfie).
Laura and Dan cantered down the centre line as the first pair in the last session and posted a score of 26.9, raising the bar by almost 4 marks.
“He’s still so shy and in this atmosphere he got a little tense and scared but I really am the luckiest girl in the world to get to steer horses like him and Mr Bass around. He’s fast but still very green at this level so we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I’m planning to take Dan to Bramham CCI4* L so I’ll have to see what I have ready when each ERM leg comes around. I’d love to be competitive again this year if I can be!”
Quicklook V (Pebbles) and Gemma came forward with proven Chatsworth form and there were even whispers of the possibility of them setting a new ERM record dressage score. Unfortunately, much like Gem, Pebbles prefers sunshine overhead and sand under her feet – a world away from the Derbyshire rain and bog like conditions that had developed in the arena by the time they entered. Still managing to present a lovely picture, the pair posted a score of 28.9 to sit in 4th place going into the jumping phases.
Bill and Alfie proved the biggest EquiRatings Stack Breaker of the day. With a large percentage of Stacks players predicting that the pair wouldn’t break into the 20s, Bill proved them all wrong and rode Alfie to a very impressive 28.5 and 3rd place overnight.
With what is predicted to be the most challenging Chatsworth Cross Country Time for years, the recent Great British rain and just 1 pole separating the top 7, tomorrow’s competition looks seriously exciting.
Tune in to https://eventridermasters.tv/watch/events/2019/chatsworth-house to watch the Leg 1 Show Jumping LIVE from 1pm UK Time or to WATCH AGAIN click here.