Apart from the hideous mask wearing ( I mean seriously FEI, we are an outdoor sport!) Pau feels gloriously normal with trade stands, spectators, food stalls, general public, music, shorts on again and sunshine…. of course the social distancing is observed outside of every bubble but it’s so cool to feel a tiny bit like pre Covid.
Two tests for Tim today with a course walk in between… its no picnic having three at a 5 star and especially when there are less than 50 starters. Xavier Faer ( Hugo) was first in and as he cantered down the centre line he spotted a sprinkling of pink sand that had been spread when they marked out the centre line and gawped at it like he was 4 years old again. Tim masterfully took charge and reminded Hugo he was there to hold his hand and Hugo manned up and presented probably his best test to date. Yes, the first change was late which pulled him out of the high twenties but the medium and extended trots were simply superb. There extended canter has always been a highlight but he looked in an amazing uphill frame and was really on side with Tim. He sits in 16th on 31.5 but it could very easily been in the high twenties and first in always pays a bit of a price.
Ringwood Sky Boy ( Ozzie) has been basically off his head since he arrived at Lignieres last week. He is not a fan of places he doesn’t know … he likes Badminton, Burghley ( especially) and Aachen. He came to Pau many ears ago as his first 5 star which was then a 4 star and after an average dressage and a clear xc bashed out 5 rails so he is clearly not in his happy place. His staff of Kerryn, Jess and Kelsey have given him much love throughout this week and he finally manned up this afternoon son and went in and did a cracker. He warmed up beautifully and then nailed the fort halt for 7.5 across the board which is actually a first for Oz at 5 star and it has only taken him 17 years to nail it. He socked it to the ground jury who sent him to the hold box yesterday with two stunning medium and extended trots and he looked the boss he is.
Jonelle was third in with Grovine de Reve who really did bust a gut to not only perform his best test to date but to damn nearly crack the thirties on his 5 star debut. A not so great halt before the reinback and a bit of a muddled one after that and then a mysterious left lead strike off kept him out of it but a 30.3 was good enough for 14th and that’s pretty cool for a debut. Jonelle was delighted with him and Rev is really ticking the boxes at Pau to join the elite team.
Meanwhile we have Faerie Dianimo ( Maggie May) and Wesko ( Dash ) as our big guns tomorrow. The base camp is very child orientated with about 6 boys under the age of three and several million tools. Its about as close a s real life as we have gotten too since March so we are just going to take it!