For me, the Blenheim CIC*** class is one of the highlights of the eventing calendar. Restricted to 8 & 9-year-olds, it means you get to see many of the best young horses around.
Although Jonelle Price won again, and Andrew Nicholson was absent, it was interesting to see a host of new names in the top 10. From 60+ starters less than 10% were eliminated, and 5 or 6 were withdrawn before cross country for what seemed to be reasons related to poor show jumping scores. Doing well here is very much about making the time, a bit like Barbury or Chatsworth, but Jonelle had such a margin after a dressage score of 33.2 and a clear showjumping she had the luxury of not needing to push for the optimum time.
The fact that just a handful of the 54 finishers had cross country penalities, I believe shows how good this field is. (Even a soft course would weed out the weaker horses and riders at this level). Many of the horses from this class go on to win major 3-day-events, including NZB Land Vision (Badminton 2011 winner), Quimbo (Rolex Kentucky 2013), and Oslo (Pau 2011).
This really is a jewel in the eventing calendar to look forward to year after year. I could kiss whoever had the idea to include this class!
Here are a few of my favourite photos from the Blenheim Horse Trials CIC*** 2015: