Top contender eliminated at Maryland 5 Star first trot-up plus a British withdrawal

  • Liz Halliday-Sharp’s ride Deniro Z was eliminated at the Mars Maryland 5 Star first trot-up this afternoon (Wednesday, 12 October).

    The drama came early, with Deniro Z, who is owned by Ocala Horse Properties, the sixth horse to be presented to the ground jury – president Christian Landolt (Switzerland) and members Judy Hancock (Great Britain) and Gretchen Butts (USA). He was sent to the holding box and re-presented later in the order, but not accepted to continue in the competition.

    Home side rider Liz will still compete on Cooley Quicksilver, who data analytics experts EquiRatings have put up as the favourite in the class, with a 15% win chance. Deniro Z was sitting equal second in the EquiRatings’ prediction centre for the event, with a 12% win chance.

    Twenty-five horses were brought forward for the Maryland 5 Star first trot-up and all the others were accepted the first time they were presented.

    The four horses who have flown in from Europe – Babylon De Gamma (France’s Astier Nicolas), Superstition (Britain’s Harry Meade), As Is (Britain’s Oliver Townend) and Coup De Coeur Dudevin (New Zealand’s Tim Price) – came forward first as they are kept separate to the US-based horses, for biosecurity reasons.

    US-based Brit Leslie Law has withdrawn his entered ride, Voltaire De Tre’, leaving Harry and Oliver as the only two competitors riding under the Union flag in the five-star this week.

    The loss of Deniro Z from the competition leaves just two riders with two horses in the mix – Jennie Brannigan rides Twilightslastgleam and FE Lifestyle while Buck Davidson will start on Sorocaima and Carlevo.

    Competitors from five nationalities start at Maryland – the USA, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

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