Laura Collett scored her first Event Rider Masters (ERM) win this weekend at Chatsworth (11-12 May), leading from pillar to post on London 52.
“That horse is unbelievable,” said Laura. “He’s finished second so many times, and he only started at CCI4*-S [previously CIC3*] last year. I just can’t believe it! I’m the luckiest girl in the world to sit on London 52. Three years ago, he’d never seen a cross-country fence — he’s come a hell of a long way, so roll on the future!”
The 10-year-old London 52 belongs to Keith Scott, Karen Bartlett and his rider.
The pair kicked off their Chatsworth campaign with a dressage of 26.9 and added nothing in the showjumping. Their margin going into cross-country was increased when Irish rider Sam Watson — second after showjumping on the dun Tullabeg Flamenco — had a run-out and Laura’s 7.6 time-faults allowed her to stay four penalties ahead of the field to collect the £16,000 first prize.
Tom McEwen made it a British one-two when he took second on Barbara Cooper’s Figaro Van Het Broekxhof, with whom he recently won the Grantham Cup at Belton.
“I’m lost for words,” said Tom, who was making the ERM podium for the first time. “I’m delighted for the horse, and delighted for the owners. It’s just been a great weekend — and lovely to finish off in the sunshine! It’s a real busy track, and there’s a lot coming up very quickly on the hills, so you’ve got a lot to take into consideration out there. It’s about riding with your brain, rather than too much bravery.”
Lucy Jackson landed third for New Zealand riding Gillian Greenleas’ Superstition II.
She said: “I’m super, super, super chuffed with him. Unfortunately, I probably had too much control; if I’d gone that little bit quicker we could have been higher! But he’s green, he’s extravagant, and he’s pretty arrogant at times, so there were times when I needed to give him a second longer to assess the fences. It was busy out there.”
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Chatsworth is the only ERM leg in Britain this year. The lucrative six-leg series continues at Wiesbaden, Germany, on 7-8 June.
Full report from Chatsworth, including ERM and all the other international sections, in Horse & Hound magazine on Thursday (16 May issue).