William Fox-Pitt dropped from the top of the leaderboard in the Rolex Kentucky CCI 4-star yesterday, but he remained well-placed as riders prepared for cross-country. He is third with Coastal Ties, who stood first on opening day, and seventh with Ballincoola.
Of his afternoon ride on the latter, a liver chesnut Irishbred, he noted his 47.4-penalty total was “a big improvement” on the gelding’s score of 62 at Burghley last year. “He coped very well with the atmosphere. He is a bit of a redhead, but he did try today,” said William, who got debited by the judges for a bit of a hiccup in the rein-back.
“I didn’t come here expecting to beat all the Americans in the dressage. I think that would be a bit much to ask,” said William, who noted that while Ballincoola has “great potential,” he can’t measure up yet to 2002 Rolex winner Winsome Adante, who is leading the CCI with Kim Severson up on a score of 37 penalties.
But, he noted, “it could turn out to be a real test of cross-country, and most horses might well not go round without penalties. I think the horses I’ve come here with, neither would be obvious winners. But who knows? They’re both good horses and if they went their best, they’ve got a chance.”
Next-best in the British contingent is Polly Stockton on Word for Word, who rode Thursday and is now 12th. Polly Jackson, making her Rolex debut on Limestone Rise, stands 17th. Another overseas rider, Heidi Antikatzidis, representing Greece, is equal 10th on Fairfax.
In the modified division, which is being run without a steeplechase or scored roads and tracks, Nathalie Bouckaert took the lead on 37.4 penalties with West Farthing. She is the daughter of Belgian competitor and FEI eventing committee member Carl Bouckaert. Pan American Championships individual gold medal winner Darren Chiacchia and the Trakehner stallion, Windfall II, are second with 40 penalties.
Rolex organizers, noting the possible footing problems caused by days of rain, decided to switch the order of the divisions for today. The CCI was moved from the afternoon to the morning, so those competitors won’t go from unsullied ground for roads and tracks and steeplechase to a cross-country course that is cut up. Since many of the participants in that division are trying to qualify for the Olympics, it was felt they needed a bit of an advantage.
No one is sure how the cross-country will go under the circumstances, but as William put it, “given the soft ground, it’s going to be a true 4-star test.”
CCI leaderboard after the second day
1, Kim Severson, USA, Winsome Adante, 37;
2, Phillip Dutton, AUS, Nova Top, 43;
3, William Fox-Pitt, GBR, Coastal Ties, 43.4;
4, Abigail Lufkin, USA, Kildonan Tug, 45.8;
5, Donna Smith, NZL, Call Me Clifton, 46.6;
6, David O’Connor, USA, Courting Danger, 47.2;
12, Polly Stockton, GBR, Word for Word, 48.4;
17, Polly Jackson, GBR, Limestone Rise, 53.4;
36, Sarah Cutteridge, GBR, Future Perfect, 61.8.
Modified leaderboard after the second day
1, Nathalie Bouckaert, USA, West Farthing, 37.4;
2, Darren Chiacchia, USA, Windfall II, 40;
3, Heidi White, USA, Northern Spy, 41.2;
4, Amy Tryon, USA, My Beau, 42;
5, Stephen Bradley, USA, From, 46;
6, John Williams, USA, Carrick, 46.2.