IZZY Taylor again leads the way at Bramham, hoping the painful lessons of 2005 can lead to one of the biggest highs of her career.
Banbury-based Taylor delighted a bumper crowd almost as much as the day two sunshine yesterday with a sensational dressage penalty score of just 28.1 on Orlando, including a perfect 10 score for her riding.
That gave the 31-year-old a 10.4 penalty points cushion ahead of Thursday’s leader Belgium’s Karin Donckers on Lamicell Unique, with Pippa Funnell shooting up to third after yesterday’s late dressage display with Or Noir De La Loge.
But Taylor has her Bramham destiny in her own hands and is determined to make the most of it, unlike back in 2005 when overnight leader in the Bishop Burton College CCI three-star Under-25s event on subsequent Badminton winner Flint Curtis.
Taylor can still remember falling all the way down to fifth nine years ago, a sickening experience she hopes to lay to rest in ultimate style this weekend.
“I was in the lead here overnight in the Under-25s, lots and lots of years ago, and then had a fence down in the show-jumping,” recalled Taylor.
“That made me feel a bit sick and I don’t really want to feel like that again. It would be nice if this time I could finish with a win but with eventing it’s so difficult and you never know what’s going to happen.
“I don’t know what the forecast is for the cross country. It keeps changing!”
Reflecting on Friday’s glowing dressage display, a rather taken aback Taylor admitted: “My score was very good and I was quite shocked to be honest. I was thrilled with him and to get a 28 is a bit mind-boggling really. That’s way better than anything I have done before. We got a 38 or 39 at Chatsworth a few weeks ago and I was chuffed with that.”
Amongst Taylor’s dangers are New Zealand eventing legend Sir Mark Todd who sits fourth and fifth respectively with NZB Campino and Amacuzzi.
Dangerous as it may be to say it, seven-time Bramham winner William Fox-Pitt appears more likely to bag CIC than CCI glory with Chilli Morning – winner of Bramham’s main event for the last two years – who has dropped a level.
Chilli Morning unsurprisingly leads the former contest in which Zara Phillips sits joint fifth and joint 36th with High Kingdom and Black Tuxedo respectively. Fox-Pitt’s 2014 CCI hope Freddie Mac is 15th.
And Northallerton’s Nicola Wilson leads the Yorkshire charge in the main event with both of her horses inside the top 20. One Two Many is equal 13th with Annie Clover tied 20th.
“They are both lovely talented horses and we’ll just have to wait and see,” said Wilson.
Huddersfield’s Oliver Townend is down in equal 34th with ODT Ghareeb and he needs a rocket up the ranks similar to the one he enjoyed on Badminton’s cross country course but the rider is not overly optimistic.
“I wouldn’t have thought it would happen quite as much here but who knows,” he said. “But the course is meant to be serious and we shall see. I don’t think anything in the world will be as challenging as Badminton but when it’s been raining and it’s as wet as it is you never know.”
Townend leads a seven strong Yorkshire charge in the CIC three-star competition with second-placed Black Tie II, though the Huddersfield rider is expected to withdraw his charge from today’s cross-country test owing to his commitments as a best man for his friend’s wedding this afternoon. That would leave Marton-cum-Grafton’s rapidly improving James Sommerville heading the White Rose contingent on Arco BB in joint-15th after the final day of dressage yesterday. Sommerville’s other ride, Talent, is back in 48th.
Next in the Yorkshire pecking order is Harrogate’s Hazel Towers and Richmond’s Laura Ritchie-Bland, who sit joint 54th with Simply Clover and Zonnedauw respectively.
Another place back sits Keighley’s Charlotte Brear on Manor Missile. Huddersfield rider Sue Chadwick sits 59th with Samuel Thomas II while fellow Huddersfield hopeful Hannah Taylor is 65th with Utrillo III.
The Bishop Burton College CCI three-star Under-25s event is led by Dani Evans on Raphael II. Evans led overnight last year before finishing second and said: “I hope that doesn’t happen this year but let’s get Saturday done first!”