It all came down to the clock in the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-L on Saturday.
Lucienne Bellissimo (GBR) maintained her lead at The Event at TerraNova on Tremanton after cross country. The pair tripped the timers of Capt. Mark Phillips’ 5,710-meter course just over the optimal time to add 3.2 penalties to their score. A narrow 0.2 penalties now separate first and second.
USA’s Jenny Caras and Tre++ndy Fernhill, the only combination to finish the course within the optimum time, move into the runner up spot on 34.9. With Bellissimo on 34.7 heading into Sunday’s show jumping, a clear would deliver her career first four star win.
The Event is a 4*-L debut for the bay Thoroughbred-cross mare. Bellissimo planned accordingly.
“My plan when I set out was just try and move a little bit on landing, and until I’ve got through the first couple of combinations, not try and get ahead of myself too much with her,” said the 39-year-old Brit.
“It’s her first 4* Long. She’s a genuine mare. She’s a good cross country horse but just recently her form hasn’t been as good good cross country.
“It rode really nicely. They sort of eased you in the first couple combinations, set you up with a nice forward stride so then they grew in confidence. Once I got out the back over the big oxer before the double of corners, I could feel she was in a good head space and then I started to put my foot down a little bit more and take a few more chances.
“She was really onside and trying today.”
Bellissimo also took the lead in the CCI1*-L with Duke’s Jory. Both horses are owned by Horse Scout Eventing LLC.
William Coleman (USA) moves into third with Diabolo on the provisional 4*-L leaderboard with a score of 36.8.
Competition at The Event wraps up Sunday with stadium jumping at 11:45 am EST and streams on TerraNovaEquestrian.com.