‘This was Gemma's day'
Horse & Hound|September 09, 2021
Gemma Tattersall shows her pure showjumping experience in coaxing a clear from a tired Chilli Knight, as the placings are tweaked behind her

ANGUS SMALES was the first of the 18 competitors left on the final day – Michael Owen withdrew Bradeley Law – to tackle Paul Connor’s showjumping course. His clear round on Charlotte Straker and Diana Birch’s Clover Echo 12-year-old, ESI Pheonix, set a standard that only four others were able to meet.

“It’s a brilliant track; very clever,” said Angus. “You’ve got switchbacks, he’s tested your right rein and your left rein, he’s tested you on the verticals, he’s tested you on an open stride, he’s asked you to make your mind up about striding.”

So spread out were the post-cross-country scores that Angus’ clear only elevated him two places. Louisa Lockwood (Diamond Ructions) and Harry Mutch on HD Bronze, both of whom had five fences down, dropped behind him, and Francis Whittington’s four poles and 2.8 time-faults on DHI Purple Rain moved him from 10th to 14th, but in such a small field the final positions were merely jiggled, with no dramatic plunges.

Pippa Funnell, in eighth place overnight on Majas Hope, jumped out of order and took the top pole of fence six in the top corner of the main arena, whose banks were packed with sun-drenched spectators.

James Avery’s eight penalties on Mr Sneezy didn’t change his position from 15th, while Sam Griffiths hit one fence on the chestnut mare Gurtera Cher, who has overcome a host of physical problems including losing several teeth to make it to her first five-star, and rose one spot to 13th.

Australia’s Sammi Birch, last after dressage on Parkfield Breeding’s extravagant 11-year-old Finduss PFB, rode an excellent clear round – as she had the day before – to take 11th place in front of Joseph Murphy and Gorsehill Pearl, who dropped the second and the 12th fences.

“He jumped his socks off, as I hoped he would,” said Sammi.

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