Most of the British contingent at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day event had a cross-country day with some real high notes, though no one could overtake the lead in the CCI 4-star held by the USA’s Kim Severson on Winsome Adante.
Kim stayed on her winning dressage score of 37 penalties with one of only six fault-free performances during the morning. Just six penalties behind her with no added faults on course was Australian Olympic team double gold medalist Phillip Dutton on Nova Top.
Other perfect trips belonged to William Fox-Pitt on Ballincoola, who stands tied for fourth with his other mount, Coastal Ties (4 time penalties); Polly Jackson, eighth with Limestone Rise after hitting the optimum time of 11:14 spot-on, and Sarah Cutteridge, 11th with Future Perfect.
The only down note of the day at the Kentucky Horse Park for the group was Polly Stockton’s fall with Word for Word at the 29th of 32 fences, the corners at the Lexington bank, which caused problems for several other riders as well. Polly didn’t complete the course, and was understandably glum, but the rest of the entourage was smiling.
“It was a pretty good day all around, I think,” said Yogi Breisner, British eventing’s world class performance manager. He would have liked to have everyone finish within the time, then noted, “but I suppose you can’t be greedy. Having said that, we were very, very pleased with the way Word for Word went. He went beautifully, it was just one of those things that happens. He’s been a very reliable horse in the past, and one we do believe one can forgive.”
Heidi Antikatzidis of Greece was having a great trip on Fairfax (“I took all the risks,” she said) when she had a refusal negotiating those tricky corner jumps on the infamous bank. “There was lack of drive up the hill. He didn’t turn very well,” she said. “He jumped the first corner really badly and couldn’t make the second one.”
Even so, she enjoyed her first competitive trip to Rolex.
“It’s really well-organized. People are very friendly. It’s much more relaxed than Badminton,” Heidi observed.
The afternoon was devoted to the 4-star modified division, the same format, sans steeplechase, that will be used at the Athens Olympics.
This was the first time such an event was ever staged at the four-star level, and there were some very tired horses at the end, with the wiser riders retiring. But Nathalie Bouckaert, first in the dressage phase, managed to hang onto her spot in the standings even with 1.2 time penalties aboard West Farthing, whose total is 38.6. Pan American Championships individual gold medalist Darren Chiacchia with the Trakehner stallion, Windfall II is second on 41.2.
Though the weather was finally sunny for cross-country, rain is predicted for stadium jumping, which could be a factor in how the standings end up.
CCI leaderboard after the third day
1) Kim Severson, USA, Winsome Adante, 37;
2) Phillip Dutton, AUS, Nova Top, 43;
3) Abigail Lufkin, USA, Kildonan Tug, 45.8;
4) (tie) William Fox-Pitt, GBR, Coastal Ties and Ballincoola, 47.4;
6) David O’Connor, USA, Courting Danger, 48.4
Modified leaderboard after the third day
1) Nathalie Bouckaert, USA, West Farthing, 38.6;
2) Darren Chiacchia, USA, Windfall II, 41.2;
3) Amy Tryon, USA, My Beau, 45.2;
4) Stephen Bradley, USA, From, 46;
5) John Williams, USA, Carrick, 46.2;
6) Will Faudree, USA, Antigua, 48.6.