Articles: Press Release
Rough Waters at Rolex put Holder in the Lead......Amber Heintzberger
Reports from Lexington, Kentucky
PHOTO CREDIT: Becky Holder and Courageous Comet took the lead at the
Rolex Kentucky CCI**** today(c) 2006 Amber Heintzberger
Amber Heintzberger for PhelpsSports.com
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lexington, KY - April 29, 2006 - It is often argued that eventing is
becoming too dressage-oriented, but cross-country was a major factor at
this year's Rolex Kentucky CCI**** presented by Farnam. Overnight leader
Darren Chiacchia and Timothy Holekamp's Windfall II had a veritable
meltdown on course when the stallion stopped at Uncle Frani's Birch, ran
out at the Head of the Lake, and finally retired after a stop at the
third element of the Banks and Splash late in the course.
The now infamous Head of the Lake became a swimming hole for both
renowned British eventer William Fox-Pitt and reigning Rolex champion
Kim Severson today. Both riders fell after the jump into the water, a
narrow vertical flanked by carved wooden fish, and took a thorough
dunking in the water element of the jump. Severson was placed second on
Royal Venture after dressage but retired from the course after her fall.
Fox-Pitt's fall was with Coup de Couer and he later retired his second
ride, Mr. Dumbledore, just before the water complex. Luckily the horses
and riders were unharmed.
First day's dressage leader, who started cross-country in third place,
Mara Dean and Nicki Henley's Rolex quest came to an end at the Ditch and
Palisade, the fourteenth fence on course, when the gelding stopped at
the ditch and Dean fell into the palisade. Again both horse and rider
walked away from the incident.
All this drama opened the door for Becky Holder and Courageous Comet to
move up from fourth place and take the lead with their bold and
tactfully ridden double clear round (43.7). British rider Polly Stockton
on Tom Quigley also rode a double clear and moved into second place
Holder later said, "I feel like Cinderella at the ball. I just keep
waiting for the coach to turn into a pumpkin!" Since she has a rail in
hand, she has a little room for error tomorrow. But naturally with the
selector for the World Equestrian Games watching, she'll try her best to
leave the rails in the cups tomorrow.
Stockton commented today's cross-country, "The course walked easier than
in other years, but after watching the other riders it became apparent
that it was more difficult." Stockton is trying to qualify for British
team going to the World Equestrian Games.
Amy Tryon on Woodstock was the first to finish within the time, which
proved a deciding factor. They moved into fifth place (51.1) and she
later withdrew her other horse, Poggio II before cross-country. New
Zealander Donna Smith learned a hard lesson about time penalties when
17.6 of them dropped her from sixth place to seventeenth.
Heidi White said that she knew from the start that she was going to have
to keep Northern Spy moving quickly to make the time on cross-country
today when her coach Phillip Dutton, as well as his Australian
compatriot Andrew Hoy, both early to ride, had time penalties. White was
one of only eleven people to ride the course clear and within the time,
moving up from tenth place to third on her dressage score of 49.4. Only
eleven horses were clear and within the optimum time.
Jessica Heidemann and French Twist (50.6) also moved up considerably
from eleventh place to fourth after going clean and fast around the
course, but a couple of the biggest jumps in placings came from Nathalie
Bouckaert Pollard on Westfarthing, who went from twentieth place to
seventh and Karen O'Connor on Upstage, leaping from twenty-ninth to
Six riders withdrew before cross-country today, including Bruce
Davidson, Leslie Law and Stephen Bradley, who was placed fourth on From
(he did ride Brandenburg's Joshua and currently is ranked 12th); another
three were eliminated and ten retired on course. It was a rough day for
the Canadians, with Penny Rowland, Mike Winter and Garry Roque all
retiring. Ian Roberts on Napalm (72.8) was one of the few clear double
rounds of the day, and currently stands in 21st place.
After all was said and done, course designer Mike Etherington-Smith
said, "The course this year was a bit bigger and a traditional type
course. I thought it was a shade easy, so it was very interesting to
hear the riders' response." He explained that because this year was a
selection trial for the World Equestrian Games, "I wanted to make them
finish with confidence and a good feel. Those who got around today did a
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