£700 Horse Races at Blair Castle | event nation

Overnight CCI4*S Leaders Ross Kanter with Rehi Royal Diamond. Photo by Ian Campbell.

With the completion of the first day of dressage at the Defender Castle International Trials, Italy’s Roberto Scalesi takes first place on the CCI4*L leaderboard with Alamein. Penalty half behind Max Warburton with the Monbeg Exclusive while Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima and Feroza Niewmoed completed the top three.

A jubilant Roberto said: “I can’t believe it. He got 29 in our first four stars, and you go and take dressage lessons to try and improve on that, but I’ve been stuck in the low 30s since then – which is great, but I haven’t been able to.” From breaking the level of the thirties barrier again.

He felt really good there and he deserved his result. This is his sixth year in the event – he is a former racehorse who has raced 25 times. I bought it for £700 to produce and sell over the winter – and five years later it’s still here. The more I train him, the better he gets and he’s taken me to multiple four-stars, giving me experience at that level.

It is Blair’s first visit to Roberto, who is very excited to be here. “I can’t wait to get out of those hills. It could rain more as far as I’m concerned, I’m on a thoroughbred horse!”

George Bartlett and Conbier lead the CCI3*L team with a relatively comfortable four-point lead over Ireland’s Amelia Leaming over Auvers Cavalier. Fellow Irish contestant Susie Perry is third ahead of Irene Leyva. Conbere was introduced to the four-star class by Sarah Bullimore before being bought by John Pace for George to ride.

“I knew he had that kind of performance,” said George, with whom he competed in the CCI2*L Championship last year. “He’s a little guy; dubbin’ to lead but he can be nervous and sharp to ride. He doesn’t try to bring you down, but he likes to have a good time. After getting him so fit I was a little worried about taming but we managed to keep him almost together.

It’s a case of girl power at CCI2*L, with the top three all scoring under 30. Emma Carmichael and the aptly named Faerlie Flighty have the edge over Selina Milnes in Calling Cooley and Germany’s Josefin Schnaufer-Volkel with Cinnamon Red.

“I didn’t expect it,” Emma admitted. “He’s only six and his mileage is very low. He’s always struggled with dressage – he’s still a bit frail and has a lot of building to do. He also lives up to his name and is a bit indiscreet – he’s been really excited to be here. I just wanted to keep a lid on him in the yard and was so upset with him It was the best he could do at this point, his personal best – Fiona Bell, his owner, was crying!

The two CCI1*L divisions are currently led by Sarah Clarke in a Secret Afaer VII and Anna Gilchrist riding a Kilimazing Topaz. The scores are close at the top, and this will not be a competition to be tamed.

The three-star, two-star, and one-star dressage continues tomorrow at 9 am.

Ten of the CCI4*S groups have run their tests, with Ros Canter and Rehy Royal Diamond leading the way. The remaining competitors will head to the arena from 12.30pm tomorrow.

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