The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event saw Phillip Dutton bring to an end his run of five second place finishes when he picked up his first four-star win on Connaught with a masterful clear round in the show jumping.
The 15-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding produced three impressive performances and sealed the win with only one of two clear rounds in the final phase to finish on 41.7pen.
“This is a great horse,” said Dutton. “He tries so hard and never ever wants to hit a rail.”
Overnight leader Becky Holder had two down with Courageous Comet to finish second on a final score of 47.3.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with my horse, thrilled with my round,” said Holder. “I’m not too sad to come second to Phillip Dutton. I expected a clear round out of Phillip. Connaught consistently jumps beautiful clear rounds. I mentally prepared for that.”
Missy Ransehousen jumped up the leaderboard to her best four-star finish ever in third with the Oldenburg gelding, Critical Decision. They finished 10 points behind Holder on a score of 57.3.
“Usually with the crowd he gets very excited and his head goes up,” said Ransehousen. “My goal today was to get him through the course the best I could. I felt like we really worked together out there today.”
Britain’s only representative, Polly Stockton, retired Tangleman on the cross-country after a run out at fence 16, the Double-Diamonds, a challenging array of corners.
The event was marred by the death of two horses and the serious injury of Laine Ashker, who is currently being cared for in intensive care with a broken jaw, broken ribs and clavicle and collapsed lungs. It is hoped she will make a full recovery.
Her horse Frodo Baggins somersaulted at the fifth fence, the Flower Basket. This seemingly innocuous jump had not caused a problem in previous years. All possible efforts were made to save the horse, who had suffered a fractured skull and other injuries, but he was later put down at a nearby veterinary clinic.
Earlier in the day, Sarah Hansel and The Quiet Man fell at The Footbridge. Sarah was released from the hospital with minor injuries, but The Quiet Man suffered a broken right shoulder and was put down.
- Discuss these tragedies on the forum >>Read Horse & Hound’s full report from the Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials in this Thursday’s issue, on sale 1 May, ’08