Gemma Tattersall produced a blistering world-class performance to win the Cazenove Capital Eventing Grand Prix at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.
Riding Santiago Bay, the Great Britain international star triumphed by a staggering eight-second margin over the course of showjumping and cross-country obstacles in Bolesworth’s International Arena.
The rest of a 19-strong field could only watch and admire, as the Sussex-based rider landed a £2,000 top prize and qualified for a place in the final at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show later ths year.
A last-jump joker fence – which added or subtracted five seconds from the rider’s final time, depending on whether it was cleared or not – proved influential throughout, but Gemma flew it with ease.
Jay Halim and Abrisco finished second, with long-time leader Bill Levett taking third on Athleet V. The remaining two Liverpool places were filled by Emma Hyslop-Webb and Hannah Bate.
“It was a fantastic class,” said Gemma, who helped Britain to eventing team gold at the World Equestrian Games last September.
“It is my first time here at Bolesworth – I aim to be back for the young horse championship in August – and Santiago Bay is a very special horse. We have a great partnership.
“She always says yes to every question, and I had a fantastic time in there. She gave me a great ride.
“I do quite a lot of showjumping as well as eventing, and so does this horse. She is very used to going against the clock, and I basically rode a showjumping round against the clock over cross-country fences, if that makes sense.
“She is a very fast horse, and we have got a great partnership. We are kind of on wheels, really, the pair of us. Every fence and line came up perfectly.”
The thrill-a-minute course was designed by Mark Phillips, who will also build the challenges for the Liverpool finalists in December.
“We saw some great sport,” he said. “This type of class takes the sport of eventing to a different audience, and I think it has a great role to play.
“Gemma was fantastic, wasn’t she? She is on flying form at the moment, and she continued it tonight.
“Liverpool will be a different type of competition. It is a smaller arena, and there won’t be so much galloping between the fences, but hopefully we can make it just as exciting.
“I only had 30 minutes to set the course up. When I go to other events,. I have got six months! Hopefully, we did a good job tonight.”