Tom got to watch the classy section of 6 year olds run cross country in the morning before heading out as No.2 on Lordships Graffalo (Walter). Le Lion follows a very similar track year after year with iconic fences and a smattering of new ones but it always starts off on the racecourse with an uphill climb to the woods before twisting and turning past the Chateau and through the waters before dropping back down to finish on the racecourse again. It is seemingly an autumn destination event for most of the Loire Valley as the venue is packed with crowds who spill out all around the track and are enthusiastic followers of the sport.
Walter did a very good job of his biggest test to date and although his eyes were on stalks a couple of times he trusted Tom and never stopped jumping with his neat and careful style. He came home clean and under time to move up 10 spots into 16th and a great job done.
Brookfield Benjamin Bounce is quite a different type of horse and whilst he would be shorter on experience than Walter he has quietly and swiftly moved up though the grades and classes this season with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of effort. He has posted some impressive international results including 2nd at Tatts in the YHCI2* and 5th at Gatcombe CI3*S and yet he has done all of this quietly and sort of slightly under the radar. Today Bounce capitalised on his great dressage by powering round the course to finish clear in time and move up into the No.1 spot which was vacated by Josephine Schnaufer. Tom and Bounce have a great partnership but to be leading Le Lion overnight is quite the feat!
No room for error though….not a single rail splits the top 15! And with the footing in the main arena being as deep as it is it is going to be a nerve wracking showjumping phase tomorrow.