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Watch all the action from the FEI Dressage and Eventing European Championships for Young Riders and Juniors 2022

Hartpury's Golden Girl: Vanir Kamira becomes first mare to win CCI4*S

13 Aug 2022 | European Championships | Eventing | Showjumping | Dressage |

Piggy March and Vanir Kamira have scored their first international victory since taking the Badminton Horse Trials in 2019, winning the NAF Magic CCI4*S at the NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials. Vanir Kamira is the first ever mare to win the CCI4*S competition and also delivered her best ever finishing score at an international event (26.4)

The combination jumped an effortless clear round in the show jumping on Saturday morning, before storming around Eric Winter's cross country track well inside the time - one of just four pairs to do so.

The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare had looked outstanding on Friday afternoon putting in a consistent test brimming with 7s and 8s. The judges were particularly impressed by the walk and canter work and accurate half passes were also well rewarded by the Ground Jury.

Vanir Kamira, or Tilly as she's known, was bred by Kathryn Jackson in Ireland’s Co. Monaghan. Her dam was Fair Caledonian and sire, Camiro De Haar Z.

Dressage leader Ros Canter finished in a very creditable 2nd place after having a rail down and picking up 0.8pen on the cross country with her Badminton runner-up Lordships Graffalo. She enjoyed two outstanding cross country rounds and two top-ten finishes with Pencos Crown Jewel having also finished in 8th. 

The only former winners in the field, Kitty King and Vendredi Biats, picked up 5.2 time pens on the cross country meaning the galloping grey finished in third place.

Tom McEwen withdrew his Olympic ride Toledo De Kerser before dressage began but finished in 4th place with Bob Chaplin. Monkeying Around and Izzy Taylor had been in 2nd place after dressage but a rail down and 7.2 time pens dropped them to 6th.

Elsewhere, the NAF Mpower CCI2*L and NAF Superflex CCI3*L see no change at the very top of the leaderboard. Jason Wood and Nitro (2*) jumped clear across country within the time as did a number of other 2* combinations. It's tight at the top as there's just 2.4pens between the top ten.

China's Alex Hua Tian has maintained his lead in the CCI3*L  with Jilsonne Van Bareelhof (25.4) after jumping a clear cross country round inside the time. He needs to jump a clear round on Sunday as Stephen Heal and I Diablo Joe sit just 2 penalties behind him on 27.4. Both the CCI2*L and CCI3*L competitors will face a final horse inspection on Sunday morning before showjumping.

Three-quarters of the CCI4S* runners jumped clear across country and penalties were scattered all around the course with the Jump 1 Brush Corners proving perhaps the most influential. 

Course Designer Eric Winter reflected on a successful day: "It's been another safe and successful day of cross country at Hartpury, and I'm delighted with how the course rode. As was the case with the FEI European Championships for Young Riders/Juniors a few weeks ago, the 2* and 3* tracks were educational and created a good test for the level. Interestingly, penalties around the two courses came from different fences to those in the European Championships.

"The 4* track had a good number of completions and I'm delighted for Piggy who really got out and attacked the course. For many, this will have been a superb prep run for the autumn internationals setting them up for Burghley in a few weeks time."

Rosie Scott-Ward, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Hartpury University, said: "We're thrilled for Piggy and the lovely mare Vanir Kamira. They pulled out all the stops in the jumping phases and were rewarded with this victory. It's a great privilege for Hartpury to host horses of this calibre and to have former Badminton and Bramham winners amongst the names.

"In light of the hot conditions, we worked closely with the FEI officials, vets and riders themselves to make a number of changes ahead of cross country day. As a result, the course was shortened in order to create a shaded finish area in the woods. This worked particularly well, allowing horses to be cooled quickly and efficiently using ice water and fans. We also ensured water points were distributed throughout the course to keep horses cool during holds. The earlier start (07:30) helped many combinations to jump away from the hottest part of the day."