By the time Lucinda Fredericks entered the new arena at the Kentucky Horse Park to show jump for the Rolex watch, the 34 riders who’d preceded her on April 26 in Lexington had proven that a clear round would be more easily attained this year than it has been in the past.
Fourteen riders had already jumped double clean over Richard Jeffery’s course, including third-placed Buck Davidson on My Boy Bobby and second-placed Bettina Hoy on Ringwood Cockatoo. So while it was doable, no one had the pressure that Fredericks faced as the last rider to jump on her own Headley Britannia. But she’d been there before, having already won CCI****s at Burghley and Badminton, and didn’t let her nerves affect her as she produced a perfect round on her way to the win.
“I worked out my route and how I was going to come into the arena, doing a few changes so she collects up a little,” she said. “The first crossrail I jumped [in warm-up] I said, ‘She feels great.’ To have that feeling and trust and rapport with a horse is just great. Brit didn’t put a foot wrong. The crowd loved her, and she’s going to go into a lot of people’s hearts, and she certainly deserves it.”
Hoy’s round wasn’t as smooth—she had a hard rub at the panels at fence 3 and again at the oxer at fence 10. But luck was on her side, and she crossed the finish line and immediately celebrated, punching the air and hugging her 18-year-old gelding who finished in second.
Davidson produced double-clear rounds on both of his mounts, who are each competing in their first four-stars and finished third and 15th. He earned the U.S. Equestrian Federation CCI**** Championship as the top U.S. rider. Phillip Dutton/Connaught and Stephen Bradley/Brandenburg’s Joshua were the only other U.S. riders in the top 10, finishing seventh and 10th, respectively.
“When I walked the course, it looked easier than in years past,” said Davidson. “I wasn’t sure if it was easier or if I was on better jumpers. It was solid looking, not too airy, and the horses seemed to relax in the stadium.”
“It was up to height and very visual, different looking jumps,” said Fredericks. “The treble coming home after the triple bar was technical enough, but the ground [new footing in the arena] really made a difference. The horses love jumping off that ground.”
Tim Lips of the Netherlands had given Davidson some breathing room by pulling two rails at the end of the course—in the triple bar at fence 12 and at the final fence of the triple combination at fence 13—with Concrex Oncarlos and fell to ninth.
- Lucinda Fredericks and her husband Clayton, who won in 2007 with Ben Along Time, are now the second husband-and-wife team to each win the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. Karen and David O’Connor have also won, Karen on Prince Panache in 1999 and David in 2001 on Giltedge.
- Although they were accepted this morning at the horse inspection, Missy Ransehousen withdrew Critical Decision before show jumping. Shortly after the inspection, he had some swelling on his chest and seemed to be having an allergic reaction, so Ransehousen took him to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, where it was determined that he was fine.
- Arthur/Allison Springer won the best turned out award; Opposition Buzz/Nicola Wilson won the best-conditioned horse, and Madeline Blackman was the top young rider.
- Attendance was 12,953 on Friday, 40,600 on Saturday and 19,090 on Sunday.