Hartpury CIC 3 star

GBR-Tom McEwen rides Toledo De Kerser during the CCI4* Cross Country. Interim-13th. Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire, Great Britain. Saturday 5 May. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Two advanced horses at Hartpury for Tom with Toledo de Kerser and Zara Tindall’s Watkins in the CIC 3 star.  Hartpury ran the CIC 3 dressage on the big outdoor surface alongside the CCI 1 star and this year it was the turn of the CCI 2 star horses to dressage in the spooky indoor….

Toledo produced his usual solid performance with a 26.7 on the flat while Watkins, who is not particularly a fan of the flatwork, be it indoors or out, was a little off the pace with a 39.  Saturday morning saw sunshine after the rain of Friday and a big and technical track on the all weather waited for some 109 horses to come forward.  The CCI 1 star was running all morning although you wouldn’t know it as as the cross country is some way over the other side of the road.

Watkins and Tom have reached an agreeable partnership although it is clear that Watkins’ first love is Zara herself.  They jumped a really solid clear round over a tricky track and Watkins looked quite proud of himself as he exited the arena!  Toledo went around in the normal uber careful and super scopey way that he has to add yet another clear to his tally.  It is quite incredible that Tom and Toledo have not touched a pole since 2015 and must be some sort of eventing record when you add events like Aachen, Badminton and Burghley into that equation!

The rain on Friday morning coupled with the amazing work on the footing that Jump 1 and the team had put in meant that everyone was happy to run and they ran their good horses quick too.  Tom is always aware that he has to save Toledo’s quick runs for the big ones and he said that he was going to run “positively, but not for time”.  That he did.. he added just 12.8 time for eventual 16th but he was also aware that had he gone for time he could have won.  Nice thought but Tom has his sights set upon WEG not a win at Hartpury…

Watkins also had a great spin round for a clear with time and he also relished the good footing and the decent track. Zara has already been out competing her novice at Smiths Lawn so I am assuming Tom will not get to ride Watkins too many more times.. he has enjoyed it even if Watkins has that look on his face which says “I prefer Z!”.