Bubby Upton paid an emotional tribute to her two horses after a superb cross-country performance in the CCI4*-L u25 at the Bicton International Horse Trials, supported by Chedington, saw her in first and second places.
The former Junior European champion leads on a score of 27.7 on Cola lll — the only horse inside the optimum time of 10 minutes 8 seconds — and is second on Cannavaro with 33.5, having added 5.2 time penalties.
The under-25 riders tackled Bicton’s challenging cross-country track with admirable gusto. Heidi Coy is now in third place on Russal Z and dressage leader Yasmin Ingham showed cool horsemanship, taking the relatively inexperienced Banzai du Loir steadily to clock up 8.4 time penalties for fourth place.
Yasmin and Heidi both had hectic afternoons with three horses apiece. Yasmin is also in seventh place with Night Line and 15th after a run-out with Rehy DJ; Heidi is 10th on Carrigsean Tigerseye and 14th with 20 penalties on Halenza.
Emily King is ninth on Valmy Biats after incurring a frustrating 11 penalties for knocking a frangible fence — but for that she would have been fifth.
“Cola is the horse of a lifetime,” said Bubby, 22, who juggles riding at weekends with studying for a sports management degree at Edinburgh University. ” I’ve had him since he was six and he keeps on pulling it out of the bag. Both horses dug so deep. They mean the world to me and when they try that hard, you love them to pieces.”
Tomorrow’s CCI4*-S cross-country finale could come down to mere seconds over the optimum time. With 0.4 penalties for every second over, the joint leaders after show jumping, Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser) and Ros Canter (Allstar B) have nothing in hand over Kitty King (Vendredi Biats), just one second over Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto (Vinci de la Vigne) and two over Oliver Townend, who is lying fifth on Cooley Masterclass.
There were also clear jumping rounds from New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell (Gambesie, sixth), China’s Alex Hua Tian (PSH Convivial, seventh) and Australia’s Kevin McNab (Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam, eighth) and Christopher Burton (Quality Purdey, 10th).
Dressage leaders Laura Collett and London 52 are now ninth with a rail down and dressage runner-up Alex Hua Tian with Don Geniro is 39th after an unfortunate three fences down.
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