The USA’s Kim Severson won the main CCI3* class at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, 16 years after her first victory at the Oxfordshire event.
The 44-year-old takes home a cheque for £16,000, and title sponsor SsangYong added a Tivoli 4x4 to the prize-fund this year, which was presented to Kim by SsangYong Motors UK CEO Paul Williams.
Riding the Cross Syndicate’s Irish-bred Cooley Cross Border, Kimberley produced a perfect clear show jumping round to pile pressure on leading contenders and, when Germany’s Julia Krajewski on Chipmunk FRH and Pippa Funnell riding MGH Grafton Street hit two fences apiece, the US Olympian found herself the stunned and delighted winner.
Laura Collett jumped a superb clear on her exciting prospect Mr Bass to rise two places to second. Julia Krajewski, who was sporting in defeat, finished third ahead of three British riders, Gemma Tattersall (Pamero 4), Pippa Funnell and young rider Will Furlong (Collien P 2) in only his second three-star contest.
“I am thrilled,” said Kim. “It’s been a long partnership – I’ve had the horse since he was four. He’s had a few little issues but he’s always been competitive and a super horse. I knew he had a big win in him.”
It’s Kim’s first visit to Blenheim since 2001 and the omens are good: her winning horse that year was Winsome Adante, with whom she went on to win Kentucky CCI4* three times, plus world and Olympic medals.
Germany’s latest rising star, Julia Krajewski, rode a perfectly judged cross-country round on the nine-year-old Chipmunk FRH to retain her lead going into tomorrow’s final show jumping phase in the CCI***, SsangYong Blenheim’s showpiece class.
However, she does not have a fence in hand over four-time Blenheim winner Pippa Funnell, whose luck turned with a foot-perfect performance on MGH Grafton Street.
US rider Kimberly Severson, who won here back in 2001 on Winsome Adante, remains in third on Cooley Cross Border, and Britain’s Laura Collett has risen from ninth place after dressage to fourth on the impressive Mr Bass.
“Chipmunk was a pleasure to ride,” said Julia, who scored her first four-star victory, at Luhmuhlen, this year. “I chose to bring this horse to Blenheim because he likes to go on and the course provided the space I needed. One or two of our landings were not perfect, but he kept galloping and jumping and I am very proud of him.”
Course designer David Evans’s new track rode well with 46 clear rounds from the 84 starters, eight of which were inside the optimum time.
SsangYong Motor UK will be the title sponsor of Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials for the next three years.
Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, an event owned by the sport’s governing body, British Eventing, takes place in Oxfordshire from 13th-17th September 2017. With the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, home of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, it has the most beautiful setting of any sporting event in the UK.
“Blenheim is one of the top international horse trials held in the UK, and perfectly complements the SsangYong brand focus on four-wheel drive and SUVs, vehicles particularly suited to those living in the country or who tow a horse box, caravan or trailer,” says Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor UK Ltd.
“As we prepare to launch our all-new Rexton 4x4 later this year, the timing couldn’t be better; Blenheim will feature prominently in our launch plans,” added Paul.
Mandy Hervieu, Blenheim’s Event Director, said: “SsangYong joining us as title sponsor is brilliant news. We will be increasing the prize-money and enhancing our facilities for competitors, owners and visitors.”
There are three international classes this year at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials: the CCI3*, the prestigious CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-old horses, and the final of the exciting Event Rider Masters series, also held at CIC3* level.
Blenheim also offers grassroots riders the chance to compete alongside their heroes with a wide range of amateur classes and a popular fun ride.
There are excellent shopping opportunities, a full time-table in the Attractions Arena of displays and demonstrations and children’s entertainment.
New course-designer David Evans is making exciting changes to the cross-country courses, utilising new areas of the park including the south lawn of Blenheim Palace, with new fences and fresh challenges built in to the course.
Visit www.ssangyonggb.co.uk for more information about SsangYong UK.
Full information about the event and tickets are available at www.blenheimhorse.co.uk