When Mary King jumped a double-clear show jumping round aboard Fernhill Urco, she won the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. But King still had one more chance to best her score. Kings Temptress, leading after cross-country, also jumped around flawlessly, giving her rider first and second for the first time in Rolex history.
Despite the pressure of having two horses in the top spots before show jumping, King said she felt relaxed heading into the day.
“I was fairly calm, actually,” she said. “I always feel with three-day events, yesterday was the big day, and you want to get through yesterday, and have your horses be well when you finish. Today, whatever will be will be. You have to try and go in and forget about the crowds. You just hope they pick up their feet and it works out.”
The 49-year-old King, from Great Britain, already has two Badminton CCI**** (England) titles and one Burghley CCI**** title to her name. She also has Olympic team silver and bronze, and World Equestrian Games gold and silver on her résumé. But this was her first Rolex win.
Sinead Halpin, 29, and Manoir de Carneville jumped a double-clear show jumping round to move up from fourth to third. Australia’s Clayton Fredericks, third after cross-country, pulled one rail with By My Guest and dropped to fifth behind William Fox-Pitt and Neuf Des Coeurs. This was the first four-star for Halpin and “Tate,” and Halpin said he came through after cross-country feeling strong.
“Coming down the trot-up [at the final horse inspection], he bucked so hard his hind legs were behind my head,” she said. “He was so proud of himself. He was a little tired walking up to the arena, and then he heard the claps and cheers from the horse before us, and he perked right up again. He doesn’t get nervous—he gets really excited.”
Halpin worked for Fox-Pitt for 10 months in 2008, and she’s been based in Gladstone, N.J., since.
“She was a great part of the team, and we miss her. I felt very proud watching her jump today, making it look so easy,” said Fox-Pitt. “I was delighted to be one place behind her and thrilled with my horse.”
Highest Placed Owner-Rider: Jessica Phoenix/Exponential
Best Conditioned Horse: Manoir De Carneville/Sinead Halpin
Zeppa Trophy for Best Presentation at Horse Inspections: Icarus/Michael Pollard
Saturday attendance: 29,864
Sunday attendance: 15,743
Overall Rolex Kentucky attendance (including reining events): 69,668
Four-Star One-Two Finishes: In 2008, William Fox-Pitt was first and second at Burghley on Tamarillo and Ballincoola
Mary King’s previous four-star wins: Badminton 2000 and 1992 and Burghley 1996