Lying in third place after the first two phases, Yoshi had some pressure relieved when the two riders below him when defending champion Andrew Nicholson and Nicola Wilson had 12 and eight faults respectively, dropping them out of contention. Riding in a beautiful rhythm, Yoshi guided the 10 year round expertly giving most of the coloured poles inches of clearance, leaving him on 45.4 penalties.
Next in was Gloucestershire’s Sammi Birch for Australia who had no room for error aboard Hunter Valley II. Sadly, they lowered one rail which moved them behind Yoshi.
Then the final rider, Gemma Tattersall with the Pebble Syndicate’s Quicklook V. The omens were in the British pairing’s favour as the mare had never previously faulted in a three day event…the crowd had their fingers crossed. They were going well until ‘Pebbles’ uncharateristcally didn’t quite make the extensive spread of the triple bar and hit the back rail. They also added one time fault and victory was Yoshi’s.
It was a historic win as Yoshi became the first ever Japanese rider to win a CCI outside Japan, and our first winner from Japan at Bramham.
Yoshi has spent his Spring in Britain based and training with Pippa Funnell alongside his girl friend who’s training with William Funnell with a bid to make the Japanese show jumping team. With Calle 44, he’s had a great few months with top 13 placings at Belton and Burnham Market CIC2* and Chatsworth CIC3* last month and Bramham was the last event before he and Calle return to Germany and Dirk Schrade. The pairing competed at Bramham last year and finished 30th.
“I wanted to be competitive but winning wasn’t planned! He’s really careful showjumping, but sometimes a bit too careful XC!” declared Yoshi.
When asked what’s next for Calle, Yoshi said; “We will continue three competing him at three star this year. We’re heading back to Germany after today and will then make plans for the rest of the year.”
Gemma was understandably annoyed with the result; “I’m absolutely gutted, she [the horse] is as surprised as anyone to have a jump down. It’s her first showjumping fault at a CCI before. But it’s still second at Bramham, I’ll just have to come back next year!
“It was a seriously tough track today, one of the toughest I’ve seen at a recent three day, big oxers, The time was doable, I shouldn’t have got a time fault.
“I hope to be selected for the Europeans with her, she’s a really good championship horse. She’ll have a bit of a break but then will be gearing up for selection.
“She’s always felt like a superstar, she was a late starter after having a foal before she was broken as a six year old. She’s only 12 and unbelievably consistent – won CIC**, CCI** and CIC*** just need to win a CCI***.”
We’ve had an update from hospital on French rider Sebastien Cavaillon who fell on the cross country yesterday. He’s had the first of two operations to mend damage to his pelvic area and is expected to make a full recovery. His horse, Sarah D’Argouges, was uninjured.
Yoshi hopes his win, along with fourth spot for compatriot Toshiyuki Tanaka and Talma D Allou, will inspire other riders in Japan to dream big and train hard. With the form their riders are showing, Tokyo looks like coming at the right time for an exciting home team performance in three years’ time.