William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain rode a beautiful clear round aboard Cool Mountain to win the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day event with a rail to spare in Lexington on April 25.
“I came for a top-10 placing and kept reminding myself that when I went in the show jumping ring,” he said. “That’s where he was when he came here. I wanted to jump a clear round, and I felt pretty sick. I knew I had a fence in hand, and my chap tries pretty hard. I knew if I had one or two down it would be unlucky.”
Kim Severson, who’d been in second place heading into show jumping, had a disastrous round on Tipperary Liadhnan, falling to 24th place after a stop at fence 4 and five additional rails over Richard Jeffery’s course.
Phillip Dutton jumped into second place with a double-clear round on Woodburn, earning the runner-up spot at a four-star for the eighth time.
“He’s a phenomenal horse,” said Dutton, who had planned to run him at the Badminton CCI**** (England) before the volcano in Iceland ruined his travel plans. “Hopefully he’ll have his day where he’s not second but wins things.”
Becky Holder held on to third place, despite one rail down with Courageous Comet.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of experience being in the top placings after cross-country here at Rolex and not so fortunate to have a lot of bad rides in show jumping and disappointments,” said Holder. “There’s a growth that happens with a horse and a rider where you have to put all those things aside and jump one fence at a time, and the results will be what they will be.”
The Canadians posted four riders in the top 10: Rhodes-Bosch was fifth in her first four-star; Selena O’Hanlon was eighth on Colombo; Hawley Bennett-Awad took ninth on Gin & Juice, and Michele Mueller was 10th with Amistad.
There were seven double-clear rounds in the show jumping: Cool Mountain, Woodburn, Neville Bardos, Port Authority, Anthony Patch (Laine Ashker), Titanium (Buck Davidson) and The Alchemyst (Debbie Rosen).
Despite his pleasure in winning Rolex Kentucky in his sixth trip here, Fox-Pitt expressed his regret that his compatriot Oliver Townend, who had a heavy fall on cross-country but was released from the hospital on Sunday morning, wasn’t with him in the top placings.
“We’re all sitting here without Oli,” said Fox-Pitt. “We were all expecting him to be in with a chance. I was sure he’d win it. To have that horrible fall just shows what it’s all about—you never know what’s going to happen. We’re all glad he’s OK, and he’ll be here another day.”