Britain’s four riders had a mixed Maryland 5 Star cross-country day.
Oliver Townend gave Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class a fantastic ride to come home inside the optimum time and hold the lead he established in the first phase.
“You see some galloping machines going round making it look easy, but he’s not the most thoroughbred – that’s why he’s always stayed clear of Burghley,” said Oliver.
“We didn’t anticipate it being this tough here and it shows you what an unbelievable horse he is. He gives me his brain in start box and even if he doesn’t like the look of something, he lets me make him go between the fences. I’m so honoured to ride him, he’s a special one.”
Harry Meade cruised to a penalty-free round with Mandy Gray’s and his own Superstition, who has moved up from 10th after dressage to fifth in the Maryland 5 Star cross-country standings.
Leslie’s ride, Tre’ Book’s Voltaire De Tre’, came down hard on the back rail of the corner over a ditch at fence 17, incurring 11 penalties for breaking the frangible devices. They also had 11.2 time-faults and have slipped from 21st to 26th place.
Zara incurred 20 penalties at the corner at fence 11 with Gleadhill House Stud’s Class Affair, as well as 10.4 time-penalties, and has moved from 15th to 29th place ahead of the final showjumping tomorrow.
All but one of the current top 10 – Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois (sixth with 1.6 time-faults) – put in clears inside the 11-minute optimum time over Ian Stark’s track today.
Tim Price retains second place for New Zealand with Xavier Faer, with his wife Jonelle in seventh on the veteran Classic Moet.
Boyd Martin is best of the home side with On Cue in third and said after his ride on the 15-year-old: “She’s an older horse, but she keeps getting better and better. She gave me a great round and cruised around nicely.”
The USA’s Lauren Nicholson also rode two clears inside the time today and lies fourth with the grey Landmark’s Monte Carlo and eighth on Vermiculus. Her compatriot Will Coleman holds 10th on Tight Lines, just ahead of fellow US rider Phillip Dutton on Sea of Clouds.
Phillip had a heavy fall on his second horse, Fernhill Singapore (ninth after dressage). He was the last competitor of the day and looked set for a good completion, but came down at the white Groundhog Garden Gate at fence 24. Phillip could be seen up on his feet after the fall and it is believed Fernhill Singapore is not seriously injured.
Fernhill Singapore was one of three top-10 horses after dressage to fault on the Maryland 5 Star cross-country course. The pathfinder, Carlevo (eight after dressage), had a fall at the angled brush shoulder at fence 10a with Buck Davidson and Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot, who had been equal fourth after the first phase, incurred 20 penalties at fence 11.
The cross-country times for today were moved forward on account of the weather forecast, which proved a wise decision as heavy rain was starting as the final couple of competitors were on course.
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