BRITAIN's Piggy French fairytale year continued with victory today at the 2019 SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials for a second time after she jumped clear to secure victory by just 0.2 points ahead of Japan's Kazuma Tomoto with the Irish-bred Brookfield Innocent (ISH).
The 10-year-old bay stallion Brookfield Innocent (Innocent (KWPN) out of Shalies Pet (ISH) by Kings Servant (ISH)) won on a score of 25.4, the horse was bred by John Mulvey. French also came third in the competition with the 14-year-old gelding Castletown Clover (ISH)(TIH) (Captain Clover out of Rathosey Lady by Hail Station) this afternoon in 28.6. The gelding was bred by Sligo's Bernard Kaveney.
Japan's Kazuma Tomoto was second with the Irish-bred Brookpark Vikenti ((ISH)[TIH] – 2008 gelding by Master Imp (TB) out of Tullineaskey Butler’s Simon (ISH)(TIH) by Ballysimon (ISH)(TIH)) in 25.6, bred by Cork's Tristan Kingston while Australia's Sammi Birch was fourth on Direct Tullorgan Cruise (ISH) on 30.4.
Galway native Cathal Daniels was the highest placed Irish rider in eighth position on Leb Lias Jewel (32.8), followed by Susie Berry in 13th on Ringwood LB (35.3).
Afterwards a delighted Piggy French said: "This is a decent track, I've got to do it as quick as I can and stay in the bubble. To be fair to them, they (the horses) were both in amazing form today and made my job so easy. The time was so tight today. You have no time to think oh soften the canter, doing turnbacks without killing the canter or doing something stupid. You had to go as fast as you can go, they were amazing, such lovely horses. The little ol' boy jumped his heart out (Castletown Clover) and he's finished third so it's a fairytale finish for him. I've always said I'm so excited about Brookfield Innocent, he felt unbelievable in there today, he felt as good as any horse today. I'm very excited."
Of her landmark year, French said: "It (confidence from winning) does help. We'll enjoy it but tomorrow is a very different day. I go home tomorrow and there is 15 fresh horses looking at me and 10 fresh owners that have not seen me for a few weeks and they all want to have their fun next weekend.So you get back on the hampster wheel and you are only as good as the horses you have sat on. I'm very lucky with the way it is all happening but with horses, the wave can break at any time. You fall off at fence two, a horse goes lame, things happen. I just have been on the crest of a wave before and I'm just going to enjoy it. It is as special (as 2011) if not probably more special, new owners, it's a fabulous result for them. They have never this sort of result. You can never take them for granted. It's been a long time, I won in 2011 here and I don't think I have won that many four-stars. It's a great event to win at. They get more special as you get older and I'm starting to get old."
Today's victory continues French's amazing year which has seen her win Badminton, help secure team silver for Britain at the European Championships as well as being runner-up at Burghley.
Full coverage in The Irish Field on Saturday by Margie McLoone
Press comments courtesy of Lloyd Bell Productions