By Catherine Austen

One of Britain’s most exciting young riders, 24-year-old Yasmin Ingham, is in the lead in the feature CCI4*-L class after the first day of dressage at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials.

Cheshire-based Yasmin scored 25.2 on 10-year-old Banzai Du Loir to inch ahead of Piggy March’s mark of 25.8 with Brookfield Quality.

Banzai Du Loir, who is owned by Sue Davies and her daughter Janette Chin, won Blenheim Palace’s prestigious eight and nine-year-old CCI4*-S class in 2020 when the event was transferred to Burnham Market in Norfolk for one year due to Covid-19.

Yasmin (pictured below) said: “I still don’t think that was his best test yet – I came out thinking there was definitely more work to be done in certain areas. He is a little bit inexperienced still with the crowds and the atmosphere, so I am delighted that he can score a mark like that despite those issues.

“It’s exciting for the future to think that there are areas we can work on and correct, and then hopefully he could do a serious test.

“It’s really lovely to be back here at Blenheim Palace. (Current world champion) Ros Canter and I were both saying that we’ve never done the CCI4*-L here before, and I am excited about riding round the cross-country course on Saturday. The Jockey Club has done an amazing job in taking over the event, and it’s just super-exciting for the future of the sport.”

Piggy March, who won the CCI4*-L here in 2019 on Brookfield Inocent, her ride next week at the European Championships in Avenches, Switzerland, was pleased with Brookfield Quality. The 12-year-old is, like Brookfield Inocent, owned by John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburne.

She said: “He did a very nice test. He didn’t make a big mistake and he tried hard. There were moments when I thought he could have been a little bit more forward-going; he felt like he shrank a bit and still wanted me to hold his hand, but on the whole, we’re pleased.”

Emily King lies in third place, behind Yasmin and Piggy, on a score of 27.2 with Valmy Biats.