Germany’s Sandra Auffarth, the current World Champion, is in the lead in the CCI3* class at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials at the end of the first day of dressage.
Riding Ispo, an 11-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Sybille Winter and the DOKR, Sandra scored 37.2 to take a comfortable lead.
“That was the best test we have done,” said Sandra, who was part of Germany’s gold medal-winning team and also took individual silver at last week’s European Championships. “He’s getting better and better on the flat as he gets stronger. He’s really sweet, and is [her top horse] Opgun Louvo’s best friend.
Sandra took over the ride on Ispo a year ago after the death of the horse’s rider, Benjamin Winter, in a fall at Luhmhulen CCI4* in Germany.
Three marks behind her in second place in the CCI3* is the young British rider Dani Evans (Raphael II), who scored 40.2. Franky Reid-Warrilow and Dolley Whisper, competing at their first CCI3*, are in third with a mark of 40.6. The pair recently won individual gold at the European CIC2* Championships.
Last year’s winner of the CIC3* for eight-and-nine-year-old horses, New Zealand’s Jonelle Price, leads the class again. This year she is riding The Marley and Me Syndicate’s Cloud Dancer II, an eight-year-old whom Jonelle bought with Jacky Green as a just-broken four-year-old.
“He’s smart – he moves very well, especially for an event horse, so I feel a bit of a responsibility to produce something a bit special,” said Jonelle. “He’s no Ferrari across country but he gives it his best – a few seconds in hand would be handy!”
China’s Alex Hua Tian is in the runner-up spot on a mark of 40.6 with Don Geniro, while Irish rider Jonty Evans is third with 43.8 on Fiona Elliott’s Cooley Rorkes Drift.
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