- Jacky Green
Photo credit Jane Hamilton... Sammi all smiles after dressage ( and pleased to be alive after the warm up!)
Sammi and her crew ( well, that would be Hels) rocked up at Blenheim Palace a coupe of days ago with Direct Tullyoran Cruise ( Tully) and Finds PFB (Louis) who is just hanging for the week in order to hopefully bore him with the event atmosphere. Louis alternates between digging a way out of his stable akin to The Great Escape to sleeping at the back in the 'resting" pose he employs at home. I anticipate a great test at Pontispool on Monday as he should be knackered!
Tully, meanwhile, has been anything but knackered. She has made her presence felt by allot of her trademark walking on her hindleags in the practice arenas but excelled herself today in the top warm up with a quite spectacular display of circus tricks. Sammi had got Hels to walk her up to the main arena ( not for any reason other than its the only way to get her here!) and Hels declared her very reluctant to go on the route. After just a few minutes of warm up Tully basically lost her mind and gave quite the display of mare independence. After a seriously impressive Cossack style display of freak riding Sammi ended up in the final warm up some 15 minutes ahead of her time and there then ensued a brief negotiation with the stewards who were adamant Sammi had to come back out. Since Sammi had risked life and death to get in we declined to leave and thanks to Irish Rider Susie Berry who had no intention of doing the second ring we eventually were allowed to stay there.
And then suddenly Tully decided she was an amazing event horse who could add dressage to her CV and she went into the arena with an "I own this" look on her face, stopped trying to kill Sammi and was simply superb! A score of 27.6 left them in third at the end of day 1 and a huge relief to the team which had now expanded to owner Jocelyn Riley and her crew who have a stand at Blenheim with their Direct Surfaces company. It is some 5 marks better than her last test at Blenheim in 2017 with Izzy Taylor and a huge credit to Hels, Sammi and also Alex Franklin who has spent literally hours helping Sammi on the flat with this mare.
All systems go now as the jumping is the fun bit.....