Lexington, Ky.—April 28
It’s finally cross-country day here at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI****! Riders will set out on Derek di Grazia’s track at 11 a.m. this morning. Follow along with our live commentary here all day.
Top 10 After Cross-Country
1. Michael Jung on fischerRocana FST (27.5)
2. Christopher Burton on Nobilis 18 (27.9)
3. Oliver Townend on Cooley Master Class (28.7)
4T. Oliver Townend on MHS King Joules (31.3)
4T. Lynn Symansky on Donner (31.3)
6. Marilyn Little on RF Scandalous (32.8)
7. Boyd Martin on Tsetserleg (33.2)
8T. Phillip Dutton on I’m Sew Ready (33.7)
8T. Phillip Dutton on Z (33.7)
10. Lauren Kieffer on Vermiculus (34.8)
2:12 Lauren Kieffer finishes a cracking round with Landmark’s Monte Carlo. She’s just 2 seconds over the time to conclude a fantastic day of cross-country.
2:07 Townend and Cooley Master Class finish with a double-clear round, and that’s two in the top four for Townend heading into show jumping. “It’s a good feeling!” he said. “I’ve got two class horses.”
2:03 Dutton and I’m Sew Ready finish clean and just 3 seconds over the time. “He jumped really well, but he’s not as fast as the other horse,” said Dutton. “I went out a little bit more calmly than I did on Z, and we were up on the time at 5 minutes, but then we lost time on the way home.”
2:01 The last horse has started on course: Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo.
1:59 Oliver Townend’s second mount Cooley Master Class is sticky at the first and second combinations, but Townend is giving him confidence as they go.
1:57 Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready nearly land on the table (12) at Pete’s Hollow, but Dutton picks the horse up and carries him over, and they continue on course.
1:56 Buck Davidson and Copper Beech come home clean in 11:07, just 4 seconds over time allowed.
1:51 Lynn Symansky and Donner finish a fantastic ride, clear and well within the time allowed. “He was pretty awesome,” said Lynn. “I hate to say it was a little bit boring for most of it, but we know each other so well! It’s nice to be up on your clock at the end of your round. We were about 15 seconds up on our time, and in the last minute I decided to let him slow down and take the long route at the end.”
1:48 Colleen Rutledge incurs another stop with “CR” near the end of the course at 26B, the Mighty Moguls.
1:48 Buck Davidson is on course with his third ride of the day, Copper Beech.
1:47 Lynn Symansky and Donner are romping around so far, clear through the Head of the Lake.
1:44 Kim Severson and Cross have a heartbreaking stop at 26B, the angled brush in the Mighty Moguls. They finish on 11:22 with the stop. “When I put my leg on, he didn’t go,” she said. “He wasn’t tired like he was last year. He felt like a normal four-star horse at that point. I just should have ridden it more forward.”
1:43 Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights run into trouble at 10B, the corner in the Rolex Grand Slam Challenge, but they continue on after the runout.
1:41 Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border are having a lovely round and charge up over the Normandy Bank.
1:40 Spisak is safely home in 11:09, just 6 seconds over time despite his long route at the Head of the Lake.
1:37 Poland’s Pawel Spisak takes the long route at the Head of the Lake. Banderas has been feeling his oats around the course and looking strong.
1:36 Erin Sylvester helps Paddy The Caddy finish his first four-star in style with a double-clear round.
1:32 Elisa Wallace finishes a lovely clear round with Simply Priceless on a time of 11:50.
1:28 Little finishes clear, but she’s over the time allowed, finishing on 11:23. The mare looked a bit tired at the end, and Little did a good job helping her home. They’ll add 8 penalties to their winning dressage score. “I was thrilled with her; she jumped all the combinations well,” Little said. “She gained confidence with every jump. My watch fell off. She holds her line great; she tries hard; she’s not tired; she has a long, lopey stride and was looking to go.”
1:24 Will Coleman finishes clear, and Phish is still full of running. His time is 10:44 on the former race horse. (Optimum time is 11:03.)
1:20 Chris Burton and Nobilis put the pressure on the leaders with a double-clear round, finishing 1 second under optimum time.
1:17 Dressage leaders Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous are on course, and “Kitty” explodes out of the start box.
1:15 Will Coleman and Tight Lines are on course, and “Phish” is feeling a bit opinionated, with a fair amount of head tossing to start, but Coleman is letting him run and settle.
1:13 Australia’s Chris Burton and Nobilis 18 are on course. They sit third after dressage, and Burton is known as one of the fastest cross-country riders in the world.
1:12 Tim Bourke and “Obie” finish clean with one of the fastest times of the day so far, 10:42.
1:09 Kelly Prather and Truly Wiley finish clean and inside the time.
1:07 Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie have a runout at the corner at 6D, and Martin elects to retire.
1:05 Ireland’s Tim Bourke is on course with Luckaun Quality. “Obie” was a little backed off at the beginning of the course, but by Pete’s Hollow, he’s bold and full of running in his normal style.
1:04 Heard is through the finish line with Barnaby with just the one stop at the Head of the Lake and 19.6 time penalties. “He was awesome,” said Heard. “When we jumped the corner, we went to the right of the flags, so we jumped the biggest part, and in fairness he caught the the backside because he thought it was a corner. I circled around and jumped the B again, so I either have a 20 for having a runout or a penalty for jumping it twice.”
1:03 Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby picked up a refusal at 18B, the corner in the Land Rover Head of the Lake, after they jumped outside of the flags the first time.
1:01 Kelly Prather and Truly Wiley are through Pete’s Hollow clear so far.
1 p.m. Lisa Marie Ferguson and Honor Me finish clean with just a few time penalties. The Canadian selectors will be very pleased with that round! “The best part is that I brought him up to this level; it’s very satisfying,” she said. “He is amazing. If there was a five-star, he’d be doing it.”
12:56 Shea took her time setting up to the last combinations in order to take care of her horse. She and Landioso finish 21 seconds over the time but clear!
12:55 Canada’s Lisa Marie Ferguson and Honor Me are on course.
12:53 Mackenna Shea and Landioso have a very hairy ride up the bounce portion of the Normandy Bank, and she leans way back to stay upright on the landing, but they recover and continue through the angled brushes with no issue.
12:50 Allie Knowles has a fall at the D element of the Normandy Bank (the second angled brush). She is fine and walking off the course with Sound Prospect. This pair also had an earlier stop on course at 10B, the corner in the Rolex Grand Slam Challenge.
12:47 Mackenna Shea and Landioso is on course and going well.
12:45 Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus appear to be getting stronger and more confident as they near the end of the course. She finishes 8 seconds over the time. “It’s nice when you’ve ridden them their whole lives—you kind of have a good feel for each other,” said Kieffer.
12:43 Alexandra Knowles is on course with Sound Prospect and looking good through the first combinations.
12:41 Caroline Martin has decided to withdraw her second ride, The Apprentice. Martin broke her foot in March after getting stepped on in a fall, and she has been on crutches throughout this event.
12:40 Oliver Townend finishes clear inside the time on MHS King Joules.
12:39 Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus are on course and through the first two combinations.
12:36 Buck Davidson is home clear with Carlevo, but they finish 23 seconds over the time. “I learned so much from the first horse—don’t slow down at the end—and it’s a much better result this time,” said Davidson. “I’m really, really proud of him.”
12:36 Townend’s horse has an enormous stride and is easily through the Head of the Lake.
12:34 Ecuador’s Ronald Zabala-Goetschel has withdrawn Wundermaske and won’t be heading out on cross-country today.
12:30 Great Britain’s Oliver Townend is on course with MHS King Joules. They have a hairy go through the first combination, but Oliver gets it done. This horse is very strong and full of running!
12:29 Holly Jacks-Smither opts for the long route at the Head of the Lake, but More Inspiration lands trotting in the water, and even though he jumps the corner in the water from a trot, Holly is just popped out of the tack.
12:25 Buck Davidson is on course with his second ride, Carlevo. They are through the first two combinations, and the horse is looking a bit backed off but is finding his rhythm.
12:23 Holly Jacks-Smither is on course with More Inspiration. They are nicely through the first two combinations.
12:21 Tactical Maneuver adds a stride in the CD angled brush elements of the Normandy Bank. “Gucci” crawls through D, but they remain on their feet and continue to finish clear but more than a minute over the time.
12:20 Ashley Johnson is taking some long routes, but she’s still clear through the Land Rover Head of the Lake.
12:18 Hawley Bennett-Awad and “Jolly” balance up a bit too much to the first element of the Water Park, and the lower rail comes down when Jolly puts her feet in the fence and stops. Hawley opts to retire.
12:16 Ashley Johnson and Tactical Maneuver or “Gucci” are on course.
12:15 Sharon White and “Louie” finish clean and inside the time! “He’s a fantastic horse. I couldn’t sit on anything better,” said White. “My goal was to not count any strides, so I didn’t watch anyone this morning before I went. It’s better not to count but to just ride.”
12:14 Jen McFall and High Times have withdrawn and won’t start cross-country.
12:11 Sara Gumbiner finishes her first four-star with no jump penalties and about half a minute over time. She’s thrilled! “That was incredible. It was probably the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but my horse is just incredible. He was a little sticky at the start, but I think he was just overwhelmed by the atmosphere.”
12:08 AP Prime looks a bit tired at the end, but he and Leah finish with no jump penalties and only 4 seconds over.
12:05 Kentucky first-timer Sara Gumbiner is having a great round so far with Polaris. He does not mind leaving long!
12:05 Sharon White and Cooley On Show are on course and look great through the first two combinations.
12 p.m. Leah Lang-Gluscic is on course with her off-track Thoroughbred AP Prime.
11:56 Baxter takes a long route at the Rolex Grand Slam Challenge and at the Head of the Lake after a runout at 18B. They have another drive-by at the last element of the Normandy Bank. The pair finishes with 19.2 time penalties and the two stops.
11:54 Roberts has a stop at 15B, the second of the fallen trees. He then incurs 50 penalties at 26B, the second element of the Mighty Moguls, for jumping but missing the flag.
11:53 Waylon Roberts is on course with Kelecyn Cognac, as is Andrea Baxter with Indy 500.
11:52 Elinor MacPhail O’Neal retires early with RF Eloquence in the course at the last element of the Park Question (6D).
11:51 Michael chases all the way to the finish and finishes one second over the time.
11:47 Roxy adds strides at the Head of the Lake to the corner at 18B and manages in five strides (most are doing three) to climb over and continue on clean with Jung. “It works not everything like you wish!” he said. “Just at the water jump I missed a little bit. My idea was four strides, but she jumped a little bit short. It’s important that the partnership works, and I’m very happy with fischerRocana.”
11:46 Michi Jung and “Roxy” are having a very efficient round, staying tight on every line.
11:44 Canada’s Colleen Loach and “Blue” are having a pleasant clean round so far.
11:42 Woodge Fulton and “Jack” are home clear and inside the time. There were a few hairy moments, but Fulton will be thrilled with their finish!
11:40 Michael Jung and fischerRocana are on course!
11:36 Tamie and Wembley have a bunny hop over the bounce at the Normandy Bank, but they handle it with no issue. They finish the course clean and 10 seconds over in the horse’s first four-star.
11:33 Savannah Fulton and Captain Jack hang a leg at 4A, the upright element of the Water Park, and they do it again at the Park Question at 6, but they stay on their feet and continue!
11:32 Boyd Martin finishes 4 seconds over the time with Tsetserleg. “It was a relentless course. My guy felt green. It’s his first crack at the level. He’s got so much heart, though.”
11:31 Ellen and “Obie” meet 19B on a half stride at the Head of the Lake, and Ellen pops off, but both horse and rider walk off the course.
11:29 Tamie Smith and Wembley are on course and looking great!
11:28 Boyd Martin is having a great ride with “Thomas.” They have added strides in a few combinations, but the Trakehner is still running strong!
11:25 Ellen Doughty-Hume and Sir Oberon on course.
11:24 Joe Meyer retires and walks off the course after another stop at 15B.
11:22 Joe Meyer and Clip Clop have a stop at the Hollow, 13A, and take the long route.
11:20 Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg on course!
11:20 Dutton and Z finish 1 second under the time and clean! “He’s still a bit green, and this was a big step up,” said Dutton. “He probably could have done a bit better with his jumping if he’d had a bit more time to see the jumps, but I think he’ll be better for it.”
11:17 Joe Meyer and Clip Clop have a sticky jump over the vertical at the first water, but Meyer gets the rest of the combination done.
11:16 Phillip Dutton and Z are having a hairy round with some leg hanging at the Fallen Trees (15AB) and the Head of the Lake (18A), but Dutton is helping him through.
11:14 Lillian Heard and Share Option are on course!
11:13 Davidson suffers a runout with Park Trader near the end of the course at 26B and goes the long route. “He was going great, but I think it was a case of being the first one out,” said Davidson. “We thought it was going to be a quiet two strides, but no part of it is quiet. He didn’t deserve that.”
11:11 Martin takes a long route at the Head of the Lake, but she and Spring Easy are focused on completion today.
11:08 a.m. Z was wild at the start box, and Richard Picken helped Phillip Dutton keep him under control until they could gallop out.
11:06 a.m. Martin is through the first two combinations. Both Martin and Davidson have had the flag down at the corner at 6C, but there is no penalty for that.
11:04 a.m. Caroline Martin and Spring Easy are on course.
11:02 a.m. Buck starts with beautiful rides through the first three combinations.
11 a.m. Here we go! Buck Davidson and Park Trader are off and away!
10:30 a.m. We’re half an hour away from the start of cross-country, and it’s a beautiful day in Kentucky. Buck Davidson and Park Trader will be the first pair on course at 11 a.m.
The Chronicle is on site at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI****. Keep an eye out at coth.com for all our coverage of the event.