Posted on 11th May 2021

Laura Collett and Piggy March lead the way at Dassett Eventing CCI4*-S at Aston-le-Walls (2), Northants

Britain’s Laura Collett and Piggy March lead two star-studded sections - each with 100 horses - in the Dassett Eventing CCI4*-S at Aston-le-Walls, Northants.

Twelve nations are represented, including a large Irish contingent, making full use of a beefed-up cross-country course produced with Olympic selection in mind.

Laura leads Dassett Eventing Section A on Karen Bartlett and Keith Scott’s London 52, winner of the Pau CCI5*-L last October, with a brilliant mark of 20.5.

“Let’s hope we stay there!” said Laura. “London 52 has been on really good form and allowed me to ride him in his test today.

“The team here have done an amazing job on the course - there are some tricky combinations where you will need to find the right line, especially the new complex in the arena. It feels like a very special Aston.”

Izzy Taylor is just two penalties in arrears of Laura, on Monkeying Around, and Tom McEwen, the world number 5, is third with a score of 23.0 on his 2019 Pau winner and World Equestrian Games team gold medallist, Toledo de Kerser.

World number 3 Piggy March and Brookfield Quality, owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn, lead section B on 21.7, just 0.1 of a penalty ahead of world champion Ros Canter, riding the nine-year-old Lordships Gruffalo, and Tom McEwen on Dreamaway ll, who are in joint second place on 21.8 penalties.

The cross-country going is superb and the course has been noticeably upgraded as befits a pre-Olympic trial, with international designer Capt Mark Phillips working alongside Nigel Taylor and Andrew Hunter to create the true 4-star test that team selectors want to see. A new 800m loop after fence 7ab through the dressage arenas has been funded through generous contributions from the Horse Trials Support Group and Event Horse Owners Association.

“We are privileged to have someone as passionate as Nigel Taylor to put on something like this for us,” said dual British Olympian Kristina Cook. “He changes things all the time and has now given it a real international feel.”

The jumping phase starts at 8am tomorrow (Wednesday, May 12) and the cross-country at 9am with Jodi Amos and Ballyvaughn first out on the new track. 

For further information, please contact the press officer, Kate Green