It 304th time lucky for Laura Collett when she won this year’s only 5-Star three-day-event at Pau this weekend with Karen Bartlett, Keith Scott and her own London 52. She also finished in the top twenty with her other ride Mr Bass.
She was competing in her 304th international event since 2004.
The journey to a first 5-star win has not been without its ups and downs for Collett, who had to be put into an induced coma after a fall at Tweseldown in 2013, a fall which left her only partially sighted in one eye.
Praising her on the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, World Equestrian Games silver medallist Sam Watson described how, in harder times, she used to ride two lots of racehorses first thing in the morning to make money to pay for food for herself, her Mother and Brother.
This victory may have been a long time coming for Laura, but it was the first time at this level for the 16.3 gelding, by Landos and out of Vernante. Not that you would have known it.
The combination led from the front, setting a new Pau dressage record score of 21.3 and going on to finish on that score after both cross country and show jumping.
There was an anxious moment or two when the scoring system appeared to penalise Laura and “Dan” (London 52) during the cross country phase on Saturday but the points were soon removed.
This dressage score could be a real indicator for the future potential of this horse, only 11 at the time of writing, as it shows that he can attain the very low scores in the first phase which have previously been the domain of the German riders.