Adelaide CCI4* (14-16 November) takes place in South Australia’s Victoria Park, on the east side of the city. Because of its urban location, the horse trials is like none of the four-star venues in the northern hemisphere.
On cross-country day horses have to cross two main roads a total of four times. They pass a children’s playground, many houses and several pubs and restaurants.
The course, which is designed by Wayne Copping, is 6,498m long and there are 34 fences (45 jumping efforts) in total.
Fence 1 Adelaide City Council Festivals and Flowers
This straightforward flowerbox is located by the main arena.
2 The Barn
The track swings left handed to fence two, which is sited on Victoria Park racecourse.
3 Open Oxer
This straightforward oxer is unlikely to cause problems at this early stage.
4/5 Pryde’s Easifeed Hayracks
The first of two hayracks is jumped towards the stables and schooling area. Riders will be looking for the second hayrack, which is on a sweeping right curve. The two elements are separately numbered, but riders are unlikely to want to waste time circling in between them so early in the course.
6ab Eventful Life Sports Fields Corner Brush
This combination is the first serious accuracy question. The first brush corner is up to height and narrow. There is no margin for error as the second, equally skinny corner, is close behind on an exacting line. There is an alternative b corner, which is longer and more forgiving, but it will cost a lot of time due to horses having to circle around the original b element before jumping back in the direction they came from.
7 Pine Oxer
This straightforward oxer comes after a long, flat gallop and it will provide a confidence boost for any combinations who didn’t have the smoothest jump through fence six.
8abc Cross Country App Brush/Cottage/Cottage
Horses have reached the south-east corner of the park now, and this combination demands respect. A fairly narrow brush oxer in is immediately followed by a left turn to two offset houses on a short one-stride distance. The alternative here is long winded, with b, a narrow chapel, located on top of a sharp incline. Horses then have to circle all the way round the other fences to get to the alternative c, a narrow house.
9 Triple Brush Oxer
This is the second of eight fences that are sited on the park’s border. There are houses and a quiet road on the left-hand side. This brush is tall and wide, but likely to be jumped out of a good, forward rhythm as it is sited on a galloping stretch.
10 Horse Deals Heritage Ditch Oxer
This oxer is big and sited among gum trees.
11 The ACC Footbridge
Riders wind through trees to get to this obstacle, which is straightforward providing their horse is confident jumping ditches.
12 Pine Log
After the first road crossing – the busy Wakefield Road will be closed to traffic on Saturday and sand will be laid on the tarmac – horses run downhill to this narrow hanging log.
13 Horse Quest Olive Grove Brush & Ditch
Although this brush looks straightforward, riders will be thinking about the right turn they need to make as soon as they land.
14abc Advertiser Hanging Log/Ditch/Brush
That right turn brings horses to this rail-ditch-brush. The ditch is wide, and any hesitation here could mean missing the line to the narrow brush immediately after.
15 Bartels Road Trakehner
Horses run downhill to this trakehner, with the ground becoming flat two strides before take off. Then there is an uphill pull to the second road crossing.
16 Brand SA Keyhole
This corner of the park is where the course becomes intense, with several serious questions close together. The keyhole is first, followed by a downhill run to the first water.
17 SATC Rymill Lake In
This image shows the brush at CCI2* height and it will be raised before the CCI4* on Saturday afternoon.
18 SATC Beach Hut
Once in the water horses will negotiate this narrow and square beach hut. The CCI2* fence behind it will be removed.
19 Bates Farm Trailer
Horses pass a children’s playground on their left as they exit the Rymill Lake and head towards this trailer.
20ab EA/ASC Stag Corner Brushes
Horses travel uphill to the first brush corner, which is jumped towards a road and houses. Riders must be accurate to make it to the second narrow corner immediately behind. The alternative b is a triple brush, but circling around to it will waste a lot of time.
21 Horseland Adelaide Flyer
Despite its name, riders won’t want to take a flyer at this train, which is sited on top of a steep mound. If they do horses will struggle to turn for an offset double of ducks at the bottom.
22/23 Horseland Ducks
These ducks are on a bounce distance, but being separately numbered will provide a lifeline to any riders who find they have missed their line by landing too boldly after the train.
24 ATCO Table
A welcome let-up fence in this undulating section of the course.
25ab SATC Toll Gate/Bicycle
There is a long, flat gallop to this combination, which is sited between a busy main road and a rose garden. The upright gate demands respect, as does the upright bicycle on a curving right line behind it.
26ab Channel 7 Logo
Riders will be looking for their line to this red corner before they negotiate the bicycle.
27abcd FEI Water In/Raft/Pelican
Tiring horses need to make a big effort into the water over the hanging log, and riders need to be accurate once in the water in order to clear the skinny raft and pelican on the way out.
28 Panda House
After crossing Bartels Road for the second time, riders have the bulk of the course behind them and are heading home.
29ab/30 IRT Gully Logs and Stump
This combination must be ridden with accuracy, particularly on a tiring horse. After clearing a, horses run down the slope and up the other side. They need plenty of impulsion in order to successfully tackle the meaty, narrow logs at 29b and 30 on the incline.
31 Grant Burge Big Bar
The final road crossing brings horses to this box and the finish is in sight.
32ab Pryde’s Easifeed Box & Trolley
A sweeping left curve leads to a flower bed and a narrow, square b element behind it.
33 Renniks Marquee
The crowd will be cheering as horses fly over the brightly coloured penultimate, which is in front of the main arena.
34 Qantas Horseshoe Welcome Home
This horseshoe will be located on the edge of the main arena and is the last obstacle to clear before galloping through the finish.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s Adelaide report in this week’s issue (Thursday 20 November), and Eventing magazine’s coverage in the December issue, on sale Saturday 22 November.