ZARA TINDALL admitted Bramham would always be associated with “great memories” as the royal goes in search of making new memories in 2017.
Three years after last competing at the event in 2014, the Queen’s grand-daughter is back at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials for a seventh-time after a Yorkshire love affair was ignited in 2002.
As a 21-year-old, the royal won that year’s CCI three-star Under-25s event on Toytown, who the rider partnered to success in both the individual and team competitions at the 2005 European Eventing Championships in Blenheim, as well as individual gold and team silver at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen.
Eleven years on, the 2017 European Championships could be a possibility for the 36-year-old, who finished a superb third in the CCI four-star Kentucky Rolex on High Kingdom in April.
Three years after giving birth to baby daughter Mia, Tindall is back at Bramham in 2017 with Fernhill Facetime in the CIC three-star.
And there remains little doubt of the affection the young mum holds for the event – or the desire to land a second win 15 years after her first.
“It was a great competition,” Tindall told The Yorkshire Post, casting her mind back to that special day in 2002.
“It was my first time here – I had Toytown and he was a legend.
“I have great memories here and that’s why I always love coming back. What are you going to do when the first time you come here you win? I’ve got nowhere to go have I?
“That was the Under-25s so a long time ago and I am in the CIC this time and it’s great to have a CCI if they are not quite ready for the CCI – you can still get the benefit of the big galloping track and not do the long competition.
“I love Bramham, I’ve walked the course and it’s just amazing to be able to gallop around this park.
“There’s always a great atmosphere, it’s good to bring horses here to educate them and you always get a great competition – a big cross-country which is what we want really. I’m looking forward to it.”
Tindall will approach this morning’s cross-country test sat joint 23rd after Friday’s dressage test which resulted in a penalty score of 48.6.
Northallerton’s world No 10 Nicola Wilson dropped from third to fifth in the event on Kings Advocate II as the rider was leapfrogged by Gemma Tattersall on Pamero 4, who is second, ahead of Britain’s 2015 CCI three-star winner Flora Harris on Monarts Masterpiece in third and Pippa Funnell on Billy Walk On in fourth. Aussie Paul Tapner still leads on Prince Mayo.
I love Bramham, I’ve walked the course and it’s just amazing to be able to gallop around this park.Zara Tindall
But Tattersall is in pole position to win the event’s flagship CCI three-star event after yesterday’s fine dressage score of 36.7 on Quicklook V, who now leads New Zealand’s Jesse Campbell on Cleveland and Funnell, who is third on Sandman 7.
Tattersall and Quicklook V competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics and finished 41st.
One Two Many had been the main 2017 Bramham hope for Northallerton rider Wilson, but the partnership only sit 28th in the CCI three-star after a dressage score of 50.3. “I’m hugely disappointed,” admitted Wilson.
“But that’s the way it goes, that’s sport, that’s horses and we will move on to another day.
“He’s a very good jumper but he’s also very good on the flat and that would be his worst mark that he has had in years, in fact I don’t think he has ever had a mark as bad as that. It wasn’t our day which was a great shame.”
Huddersfield’s world No 7 Oliver Townend is 31st with his sole remaining entry Note Worthy as Yorkshire’s charge is led by Grafton’s James Sommerville, who is 20th with Talent.
In the Under-25s event, York-based Hector Payne is 13th with Dynasty and 16th with Ironstein. Bedale’s Charlie Dennis sits 21st on DHI Hot Chip, while Bedale’s Caroline Clark is 22nd on Touch Too Much. Womersley’s Sophie Platt is 27th with Be Be III.
France’s Thibault Fournier leads the Under-25s on Siniani De Lathus, ahead of fellow Frenchman Aurelien Leroy on Seashore Spring. Brit Emily King is third with Dargun. In the CIC, Bedale’s Sara Bowe is 34th on Seaworthy, while Harrogate’s Hazel Towers sits 64th with Simply Smart and 68th with Simply Clover.
The CIC showjumping takes place from 8.30am this morning, followed by the CIC cross-country finale in the afternoon.
The CCI events will conclude with their showjumping phases tomorrow, after today’s cross-country tests. The CCI three-star cross-country starts at 9.30am.