A thorough going over
A combination of stamina, a smart step and ability to jump always wins out
Time and time again horses with large percentages of thoroughbred blood have proven to shine the best in top-class eventing.
While warmbloods will often have the smart step for dressage and ability to jump, at the end of the day it is a combination of these attributes and sheer stamina that will always win out over three phases when it comes to a four-star competition.
At the recent Badminton Horse Trials, this was displayed once again as all but one of the top-10 on the final day boasted no less than 50pc of thoroughbred blood. In addition three Irish thoroughbreds impressively went on to finish in the top-15.
The best of the trio emerged as Gemma Tattersall in third riding Arctic Soul, an Irish export whose life began here with trainer Colin Murphy.
Bred by Michael Whitty, he is by the 1995 Italian Derby winner Luso out of a mare by Roi Danzig and from the family of Grade 1 winner Arctic Copper. He was unsuccessful in all four starts under National Hunt rules as a five-year-old in 2008 before being sold on. Having briefly passed through the hands of Tomas and Marti Rudd, he was then purchased by Sally and Shaun Parkyn. "We always thought he would be a real star but it took some time to get him jumping," Ms Parkyn said of the bay which was sold on after a few months to Nicky Rincoroni for then-owner Philip Kerr.
Now owned by the Soul Syndicate, the 13-year-old also jumped a superb clear on the final day and is now a promising candidate for the Olympic Games. Interestingly no less than 60pc of thoroughbred blood was to be found in the breeding of the top 12 after the four-mile cross-country phase.
Of the 77 starters in dressage, just 48 remained in competition after cross-country which resulted in 17 eliminations and a further 10 retired on course.
It later emerged that only 11 combinations had escaped both jumping and time penalties. The best of these was British rider Kristina Cook on another Irish thoroughbred, Star Witness.