Tapner returns to record another high point

Paul Tapner, who came over from Australia to win the Bramham Three-Day Event earlier this year on Highpoint, held the lead with the same horse when the dressage phase of the Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials was completed yesterday.

Paul Tapner, who came over from Australia to win the Bramham Three-Day Event earlier this year on Highpoint, held the lead with the same horse when the dressage phase of the Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials was completed yesterday.

As the competitors go into today's cross-country, Tapner is 6.4pts ahead of the two riders now in joint second - John-Paul Sheffield on the overnight leader, Catch the Tiger, and William Fox-Pitt on Tamarillo.

Tapner, who has been home to Sydney since his Bramham victory, is now looking for a base in England so he can continue to compete on Sarah Smith's Highpoint. The 10-year-old Polish gelding's dressage has improved after the 25-year-old Australian "ironed out a few little problems". Tapner had been hoping for fewer than 50 penalties, so was delighted to finish the dressage on a score of 38.6.

Highpoint, who had given his owner several falls before Tapner took him on, is competing at Blenheim with a view to tackling Badminton next May.

But the immediate challenge is today's cross- country course of 28 fences. Tapner, who walked the course here last year, although he was not competing, reckons the track is "a lot more technical" now than it was then.

He is considering taking the slow route at the Hook Norton Hop (fences 23 and 24), but will keep an open mind, saying: "I'll wait to see how the horse is feeling."

Sheffield will probably take all the direct routes on Catch the Tiger, although the rider has reservations concerning fence 20, where the quickest way over the first of three elements at the Dodson and Horrell Feedstore involves jumping a big corner. "I had a run-out there about four or five years ago on Bowfred," 26-year-old Sheffield said. "It was the only time Bowfred ever ran out."

Fox-Pitt rode his test on Tamarillo in heavy rain towards the end of the day, but was happy with his marks and with the weather. "We needed the rain - the ground would have been too firm without it," the rider said.

Tamarillo is just two points ahead of Fox-Pitt's other mount, Stunning, who is now lying fourth. Though both horses have shown good recent form, they could scarcely be more different. Eight-year-old Tamarillo, who is by a Polish Thoroughbred stallion and out of a part-Arab mare, has made good progress since Fox-Pitt began riding him a year ago.

Having won the two-star event at Blarney earlier this year, Tamarillo is now tackling his first three-star at Blenheim, which was seen as his next stepping-stone. "He's inexperienced to be here, but I believe he's ready," Fox-Pitt said.

Whereas Tamarillo is going up through the levels, 14-year-old Stunning, who was formerly partnered by Mark Todd, is taking a step back. "Stunning's never had much luck in four-stars," Fox-Pitt said. "He's very sensitive and more complicated than you might think. He'll be kept to three-star level from now on."

Kelli McMullen-Temple from Canada, now in fifth place on Kilkenny, was a last-minute entry for Blenheim. The 12-year-old horse, who was bred in Ireland, was due to fly to Sydney for the Olympics until going lame a quarter of an hour before the final trot-up. The abscess on his foot cleared up quickly, but by then McMullen-Temple's Olympic place had been given to another Canadian rider.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Internal Project Manager - Business Analyst, Financial Services

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the best known and most pr...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer
 SQL, C#, VBA, Linux, SQL Se...

.NET Developer

£650 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer ASP.Net, C#.net, WCF, WPF, .N...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment