Horse & Hound
London’s talk of the town
Laura Collett’s ever-improving star hits imperious form to prevent a Piggy March whitewash
Childéric Saddles Little Downham (3), Cambs
LAURA COLLETT and London 52 grabbed victory by a whisker in one of two star-studded CCI4*-S sections.
For some time it appeared that Piggy March would cap an incredible run of form with a one-two double – by midday she had bagged the top two spots in section P with Brookfield Quality and Dargun. But running towards the end of section Q, Laura and her own, and Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott’s 2019 Boekelo winner turned in a fast enough cross-country clear to nudge Piggy’s two rides in this second section, Brookfield Inocent and Fonbherna Lancer, down to second and third.
“He’s always felt like a superstar, but in the past 12 months he has gained the confidence to match his ability,” said Laura of the Pau-bound 11-year-old, who added four timepenalties to his leading dressage score of 24.4.
“I ended up giving him five weeks off over lockdown as he became so cheeky being super-fit with nowhere to go, but since he’s been back in work he’s felt mega.”
“In the past year, he’s gained the confidence to match his ability”
LAURA COLLETT ON LONDON 52
It was the first time an international four-star had been held at the Cambridgeshire event and riders were quick to praise Jonathan Clissold’s challenging but fair track.
“Until now I’d not been anywhere that had tested ‘Dan’, but this course had a real Pau-type feel to it with skinnies on mounds, blind turns and committed distances,” said Laura, who also finished fifth on her other Pau runner, Mr Bass.
This was a fourth international victory of the year for Piggy March, who leapt up the leaderboard in section P with Alison Swinburn and John and Chloe Perry’s Brookfield Quality from fourth after dressage, on a score of 29.2 with two foot-perfect, quick-jumping performances.
“I have to get my brave pants on with him as he’s a big-striding horse and not very easy to adjust,” said Piggy of her 2019 Hartpury CCI3*-L winner. “But I was delighted at how confident he felt.”
The national classes on Monday and Tuesday had to be abandoned due to poor weather, but BE80(T) through to open novice ran over the weekend.
Tom Fray was the delighted winner of BE90 section A riding Sarah Anderson’s “very tricky” Lady Jazmin (Beanie).
“This result is a testament to Sarah’s patience and perseverance. When she bought Beanie, she couldn’t sit on her in canter as she would buck her clean off,” said Tom, a BHS stage four senior coach (previously known as a BHSII). “She carried out lots of investigations, ruled out possible causes and put up with all sorts of unhelpful advice from wellmeaning non-professionals. She contacted me earlier this year as a last chance.”
The pair clicked but when lockdown came, Tom couldn’t ride her any more.
“Sarah kept working her and as soon as we were able to restart, we did,” he continued. “The mare is so sensitive – she knows when I’ve altered my stirrups a hole and protests for a few strides – but if you can get her on side, she’ll turn herself inside out for you.”