Event rider Emilie Chandler earned one of the biggest wins of her career after leading from start to finish at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials.
The Stathern rider claimed her first four-star victory over the longer format aboard hot prospect Gortfadda Diamond at the prestigious Scottish competition.
Chandler (38) has represented Britain and ridden among the elite eventers at Burghley and Badminton, and believes the 10-year-old is capable of joining that five-star bracket in the near future.
“I think a lot of him,” she said.
“He has five-star potential, so to have a result like that really clarifies how much I believe in him.
“Hopefully we have a very exciting few years ahead of us.”
Bertie, to use his stable name, went straight into the lead after dressage and then came into his own on the cross country course, posting the fastest cross country time and picking up just 3.2 time penalties.
This earned the combination an unusually large lead of 13 points over their nearest rivals going into the final show jumping phase.
“I couldn’t decide if it took the pressure off or it didn’t,” she added.
“You still want to jump a clear round and I was worried about something unlucky happening like falling off. So it was a nice buffer, but I still had a job to do.”
But there were to be no misfortune as Bertie consolidated his handsome lead by jumping clear in another quick time.
The victory completed the set for the experienced Leicestershire rider north of the border.
“It’s one of my favourite events,” she explained. “I’ve always had consistent results at Blair.
“I’ve had a second, a third, fourth, sixth and quite a lot of top-10 placings, but that was my first win there.”
Chandler took on the ride with the intermediate level horse two years ago, having been produced by former international event rider Tanya Kyle at Wymeswold, and their partnership has developed quickly.
“He has really come on and only really stepped up to four-star level this year,” she said.
“He did the short format four star earlier this season, and Blair was his longer format competition so to have a win was just superb.
“I’m looking towards five-star at the end of next year, all being well.
“He has an effortless gallop and that makes a real difference in eventing, particularly in cross country, but he is very consistent in other phases, too.
“He’s a nice mover in dressage and wants to be careful in show jumping, so he’s an out-and-out event horse.”
While Bertie will have to wait a while for a taste of five-star competition, Chandler will make her latest trip to Burghley this weekend.
Elite eventer Cooper’s Law remains sidelined through injury, picked up at the famous Lincolnshire event 12 months ago, but Emilie has qualified two prospects for the Young Event Horse Finals.
And she will also be there as coach to Richard Skelt who rides Credo III in the blue riband competition.