Unsurprisingly at just 9 years old Eliza was slightly off the pace after dressage with a 35.1 but she was sitting amidst allot of 5 star horses with the leader, the striking Qing du Briot having an Olympic God medal with his rider Thibaut Vallette in the bag as well as a couple of European Championship rides so being in the top 10 was always unlikely!
If her lack of experience showed in the dressage then Eliza more than made up for it on Friday morning in the showjumping. She does have a great record in this phase and Tom is a superb rider but even so to jump one of just only 11 clear rounds out of the 30 starters was truly impressive. While there were clear jumping rounds very few made the time over a long and technical track. That jumped them up to close to the top 20 and just 11 marks off the lead.
The cross country is, as with many venues in these sort of locations, by nature twisty and turny as opposed to the more galloping tracks we are used to tin the UK. There were plenty of tough combinations with a 3 skinny brushes being the last of them, a tough downhill approach to a corner earlier, forward distances and, of course, a tight time!
Eliza and Tom were early out and they put up a great display. Eliza was ‘learning on the job’ and after looking a bit green at the white rails at fence 4 and looking to Tom for his experience she simply got better and better as she travelled around. Her execution of the skinnies at the end was copybook and they made it look like a schooling exersize set up in the arena! It was yet another great outing and as Tom said, in another years time she is going to be world class and competitive on that stage as well.
They rose up the leaderboard to 17th which was no mean feat on such a young horse. A double clear around a track like that is really something and Eliza has earned her spot as one of tom’s up and coming superstars.
All done and dusted by 2pm in France and they could head back to Calais in the daylight and join the holidaymakers queuing up for the ferry!