‘I don’t think it’s sunk in’: Tamie Smith secures historic Kentucky win

  • Tamie Smith topped the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event results today, becoming the first US winner of the event since 2008 and the first female winner since 2011.

    The 48-year-old competitor rode a brilliant clear in the showjumping today on Mai Baum, owned by his former rider Alexandra Ahearn and her parents Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell.

    “I’m just a bit speechless, I don’t think it’s sunk in,” said Tamie. “I’m a little bit in awe right now. With that horse, a lot of people were part of his career, not just me and it means a lot.”

    Tamie did not have a rail in hand when she went in to tackle Steve Stephens’ track, but she rode without a trace of nerves, adjusting the 17-year-old horse as necessary but staying relaxed enough to let him do his job.

    “All of us have been rooting for an American to win Kentucky for a long time and we’ve been close a few times. I’m so happy an American won because I’m so tired of the Europeans coming over here and taking our national championship and I’m so grateful it was me,” said Tamie, who paid tribute to Erik Duvander and his contribution to the country’s efforts, as former US performance manager and still trainer to many riders including herself.

    “I think everybody is elated for me but we all have our own struggles in this sport, we all have our ups and downs. You picture the iceberg, you see the tip poking out, but the bottom is massive. You have a lot of struggle, a lot of heartbreak in this sport, but I think you do in anything that’s great. I think everybody just felt the same emotion I’m feeling right now, just elated.”

    Tamie admitted her uncharacteristic two down at last year’s World Championships had made her nervous about today’s showjumping and that she very much wanted this victory to give “horse of a lifetime” Mai Baum the recognition he deserves.

    “I wanted him to have his moment in the sun and today he did. He’s missed out a few times and I’m very happy for him, because I think he’s an unbelievable creature,” said Tamie, who hopes “Lexus” will be a Paris 2024 horse, but says he will tell her when he’s ready to retire.

    Britain’s Tom McEwen also jumped clear on Jo and James Lambert and Deirdre Johnston’s JL Dublin to clinch second place. He rattled the penultimate fence, an upright, and then took a flyer to the last, but finished without penalties.

    Liz Halliday-Sharp scored her first podium finish at five-star when she piloted Miks Master C, owned by Ocala Horse Properties and Deborah Palmer, to a clear to hold onto third place.

    Germany’s Sandra Auffarth also jumped clear to confirm fourth on Viamant Du Matz.

    There was a high percentage of clears today, which meant even a single rail down sent riders down the placings. Off The Record hit the first element of the treble and had a time-fault, sending him and Will Coleman from fifth overnight to seventh.

    Clears from France’s Maxime Livio (Carouzo Bois Marotin) and Phillip Dutton (Z) moved them each up a place to fifth and sixth in the final Kentucky Three-Day Event results.

    Britain’s David Doel finished on this dressage score to take eighth on Gillian Jonas’s Galileo Nieuwmoed.

    The other Brits also went well today. Zara Tindall had the blue and white oxer over a water tray at fence five down to finish 15th on Class Affair, while Yasmin Ingham (Banzai Du Loir, 18th) and Kirsty Chabert (Classic VI, 21st) both jumped clear.

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