Bramham Horse Trials 2019: Tears of joy for young riders as home favourite Nicola Wilson sets about task of Dublin her tally

NORTHALLERTON'S Nicola Wilson ended the first day of the 2019 Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials in pole position to land another dream victory - with her main hope yet to come.

OUT IN FRONT: Northallerton's Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin. Picture by Simon  Hulme.
OUT IN FRONT: Northallerton's Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin. Picture by Simon Hulme.

London 2012 team eventing silver medallist Wilson brought the Bramham Park house down in 2015 when winning the CIC three-star event with Annie Clover for her first victory at Yorkshire’s crown jewel of eventing.

Four years on, Wilson surged to the top of the leaderboard of the same event at the half-way stage of dressage on board rising star JL Dublin who produced a superb score of 25.1 to become overnight leader of the competition now categorised as the CCI short-format four star.

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Britain’s Selina Milnes is the overnight leader of the flagship CCI long-format four star on board Iron IV with a score of 29.2 but a whole host of likely contenders take in their dressage tests in the main event on Friday including Wilson on Yacabo BK.

Ride-away equestrian.

The Queen’s grand-daughter Zara Tindall will also perform her dressage test at 9.45am on Friday morning on Class Affair while big things are expected in the dressage arena from London 52 under Brit Laura Collett at 2.45pm.

New Zealand’s world no 8 Andrew Nicholson also has high hopes for As Is who is on at 2.22pm.

Bur it’s so far so good for Wilson who was visibly delighted with JL Dublin’s dressage test with the popular Northallerton rider leaving the arena with her trademark big beaming smile and excitedly giving the eight-year-old gelding several excited celebratory pats.

“Poor lad!” laughed Wilson.

"He is just such a young horse for this level, he's an eight year old who has just stepped up this time and to go into the arena with an atmosphere that Bramham does have and perform his lifetime best was just remarkable.

"I am just so proud of where he has come from.

"The owners James and Jo Lambert and Deidre Johnston - they have had him since a four year old and he has just been a super horse to work with and that was very, very exciting."

Assessing the chances of going all the way to victory, Wilson said: "You’ve got to start where you want to finish really and he is a young horse gaining experience.

“But he has started as we dreamt, as we thought he was capable but that was his best mark at this level so far.

“We won’t put any pressure on Dublin this year but hopefully in years to come he will be able to take that pressure.

“But I just love Bramham, it’s close to home and the park here is so just outstanding, it’s just so beautiful and such a privilege to be able to ride around the undulations and in between the trees and the woods. It’s just a magical event and I very much love coming here.”

In the short format four star, Wilson holds a slender lead with fellow Brit Ben Hobday hot on the Northallerton rider's heels in second on Shadow Man II with a score of 26.0Another Brit, Nini French, sits third on Time For Harry with 28.1.

In the flagship long format four star, Milnes is fractionally ahead of Zimbabwe's Camilla Kruger on Biarritz II on 29.4. Sweden's Jonna Britse is third on Quattrino on 29.9.

Britain's Richard Coney leads the under-25s event on Kananskis with 29.8, ahead of country compatriots Yasmin Ingham on Sandman 7 with 30.1 and Will Rawlin with 30.1.

Fourteen riders are representing Yorkshire with Bedale's Sara Bowe currently the next best after Wilson and 12th in the short-format four star with Kilcoltrim Mermist after a decent dressage test of 30.6.

From a White Rose perspective, James Rushbrooke is next in that class with Zealandnew BK 20th with 33.3.

Holly Richardson is joint 22nd with Caraghs Buffet on 34.8 while Katie Magee is 28th on Enceladus with 37.4.

Chloe Bell shed tears of joy after navigating her first Bramham dressage test to sit 34th on Javas Spice with 39.6 while an equally teary Charlotte Brear returned to Bramham on Manor Missile who has recovered from laminitis and sits 41st on 47.2.

Christopher Whittle is just in front of her in joint 38th on Skip Mill on 44.2 while Sophie Platt is 42nd on Be Be III with 47.4, just ahead of Phil Brown on Harry Robinson on 49.7.

James Sommerville leads the Yorkshire charge in the long-format four star with Altaskin Jack 19th on 37.1.

Former Yorkshire resident Matt Hecking is joint 27th on 42.9 with Harle Belle.

Storm Straker, the sole Yorkshire rider in the under-25s, sits 11th on Well Designed on 38.1.

Friday sees Magee launch her four-star long bid with Dollarney at 11.52am.

In the short-format, Morgan Kent is also in action at 10.22am on Felda with Platt's second ride Caesar II due out at 2.07pm.

Friday again centres around dressage with Saturday seeing riders tackle Ian Stark’s cross country test with the fences built by David Evans - course builder for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Sunday is then the show jumping finale for both the main class and the under-25s event with the short format finished on Saturday.

The winner of the flagship class will bag £5,750 plus the use of an Equi-Trek Sonic Horsebox for one year.