One British horse was withdrawn before the final trot-up at Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials this morning and two others were sent to the holding box.
“There are no major long-term issues, he’s just a bit stiff after yesterday,” Francis told H&H. “He galloped fantastically coming home and felt really good hacking out this morning, but there’s a long way to go and it’s just not fair to ask him to come out and jump again today.”
There was a pause in the trot-up as the ground jury (Angela Tucker, Wayne Quarles and Ernst Topp) and veterinary delegate Catherine Kohn waited for the holding box vet Lisa Crump to return with her report, because to comply with quarantine restrictions the horses who have travelled from Europe are all presented first at Kentucky and then put away before the North American-based horses come out.
There was also a miscommunication which resulted in Nicola bringing Annie down too early for re-presentation and having to take her away again. British supporters feared she might be being withdrawn as a rug and front boots were put on her, but she was just being kept warm and protected while she waited. Nicola’s groom Lynn Swift walked the mare round on the grass until it was time for her to be re-presented.
Both Annie and William’s Bay My Hero were accepted when they came before the ground jury again, to the relief of British supporters.
US-based Brit James Alliston’s remaining ride Parker passed with no problems.
Three US horses were held and Caitlin Silliman withdrew Catch A Star from the holding box. Angela Grzywinski’s Novelle and Lizzie Snow’s Coal Creek were both accepted on re-presentation, keeping alive their riders’ dream of completing their first Kentucky.
Three horses besides Easy Target were withdrawn before the trot-up. The best-placed of these was US rider Phillip Dutton’s Mighty Nice, who sat seventh overnight.
The others were New Zealander Emily Cammock’s Dambala, who went well cross-country to sit 18th overnight but finished the course lame and was taken away from the wash-down area in the horse ambulance, and Will Faudree’s Andromaque for the home side. Will was in 20th place with 11 penalties for breaking a frangible pin at the SmarkPak Opposing Corners at fence 21ab.
Today’s showjumping starts at 1pm local time (6pm in Britain). Forty-one horses go forward to the final phase.
Final update from Kentucky online later. Full report in Horse & Hound next week, out Thursday, 30 April.