The British Team is currently looking strong at this early stage with good dressage performances by both British number one Oliver Townend riding Arctic Mouse currently lying fourth and Will Furlong riding Collien P 2 (pictured) in seventh.
Will is actually sitting in the runner up spot on Livingstone II, his 2016 British National Under 21 Champion partner, with Oliver third on Note Worthy but these are not their team horses. Sitting at the top of the Three Star pack is Germany’s Andreas Ostholt and So Is Et, another combination who have a good record at Houghton having placed third in 2014.
Piggy French leads the Two Star competition at the end of the dressage phase. She posted the lowest dressage score riding Susie Wood’s nine-year-old Morswood to hold a three penalty lead over Caroline Powell and Flipper K. Laura Collett and Dacapo are hard on Caroline’s heels in third while Thursday night leader Will Furlong has dropped to fifth place and Ros Canter, who finished best Brit and highest placed lady rider at Badminton earlier this month, has two horses in the top 12. Emily King currently heads the Two Star British National Under 21 Championship leaderboard, Walitze F Vejgard enjoying a half penalty advantage over Sam Ecroyd’s The Quiet Man.
In the One Star Piggy French has again set the standard with Jennifer Saunders’s Cooley Monsoon, one point ahead of Gemma Tattersall on Billy Hopefull. It’s rather a case of girl power in this class with Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa the sole male representative in the top six – lying fourth, he separates the rides of Josephine Schnaufer and Francesca Fitzherbert.
The cross country action starts at 9.30am tomorrow (Saturday). There is also show jumping and arena eventing, and for anyone wanting an insider’s view of tackling a cross country course there is a guided course walk of the Three Star course at 3pm, led by Imogen Murray – register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A minimum £10 donation to the East Anglian Air Ambulance is required.
Looking forward to Sunday, there is more dressage, show jumping and all of the Three Star cross country action which starts at 11am and is the final phase of the FEI Nations Cup. Finally on Sunday there is, of course, camel racing in aid of the Air Ambulance. This will take place at approximately midday and again at 15.30pm and is well worth watching.