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Event Rider Masters kicks off at the 2017 series Chatsworth International Horse Trials.

Event Rider Masters kicks off at the 2017 series Chatsworth International Horse Trials

This weekend the Event Rider Masters (ERM) kicks off its first leg of the 2017 series at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials.

Competing in the ‘T20’ version of Eventing in the magnificent estate of Chatsworth House, for a total of £50,000 in prize money, are forty of the world’s top horse and rider combinations, representing twelve nations.

The dressage will start the ERM competition on Saturday, followed by the showjumping on the second morning of competition. However, it’s likely to be the final cross-country phase on Sunday afternoon that will be highly influential, with the cross-country optimum time at Chatsworth renowned as being difficult to achieve.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) arrives at Chatsworth in red hot form following his first win at the Badminton Horse Trials last Sunday. Nicholson is already a ERM record holder as he was the only rider in the 2016 series to complete on a score in the 30’s (39.6), when he won leg 3 at Barbury on board his Badminton hero, Nereo. His ride this weekend is Swallow Springs, who although is less experienced compared to his stable-mate, he is a proven swift cross-country performer.

Commenting ahead of leg 1 of the 2017 ERM, Andrew Nicholson said:

“I am really looking forward to being part of ERM this weekend. Swallow Springs is a very nice young horse and delivered a strong third at Blenheim in September at the same level. In addition to him hopefully having a live chance, it will be good for him to experience the big atmosphere that the ERM format creates”.

All being well, I plan to target Nereo at ERM’s third leg at Barbury in July, which will probably be his first outing after Badminton as it would be amazing to secure a sixth consecutive win at Barbury!”.

The 2016 ERM Champion Oliver Townend (GBR) makes a record seventh appearance in the series this weekend. Townend also holds another ERM record with his remarkable performer in last year’s series Cillnabradden Evo, they are currently the only partnership to be faultless in the show jumping phase with four clear rounds in the 2016 series. This weekend he is on board Note Worthy, who is a horse renowned for being quick on the cross-country. Townend is likely to throw down the gauntlet this weekend aiming to defend his ERM series title.

France, who dominated the first leg in 2016 at Chatsworth with a 1,2,3 podium finish, is represented by the winner of leg 6 last year, Thomas Carlile and the grey stallion Upsilon. The pairing  are this weekend’s favourite according to statistics produced by EquiRatings. The pair won at the series finale at Blenheim last year and have finished first or second in eight of their eleven international starts. The combination are superb performers in all three phases of the ERM Eventing format and they start with every chance.

Last year Gemma Tattersall (GBR) proved she was ideally cut out for this series, never finishing out of the top five in three of her four ERM starts. This weekend she rides her 2016 Rio Olympic mare Quicklook V, and the combination have the fifth best finishing score of all Chatsworth completions at this level since 2010 (47.1). A similar result on Sunday and they will be contenders on the final ERM podium.

Double Olympic champion Sir Mark Todd will be looking to make an impact on the 2017 ERM series. Todd comes to Chatsworth in impressive form following a fourth and sixth place finish at Badminton. His ride this weekend, Kiltubrid Rhapsody, has produced faultless cross-country jumping efforts in all his international competitions and the kiwi could well claim a podium place on Sunday afternoon.

First time competitors to ERM are Harry Meade (GBR) riding Away Cruising and Piggy French (GBR) on board Quarycrest Echo. Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa also makes his ERM debut with Calle 4. Yoshiaki was another eye-catching competitor at Badminton last weekend finishing in eighth place. Rosalind Canter who was the Best of British rider at Badminton completing in fifth, rides Zenshera this weekend.

Leg 1 of The ERM series at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials on the 13th and 14th May can be viewed live and for free by anyone at Eventridermasters.tv. A highlights programme will be aired across global TV channels from Thursday 18 May, including Sky Sports in the UK at 7pm.
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