“It was a bit unexpected,” Christopher Burton said in quite the understatement about his history-making victory with Stephanie Pearce’s TS Jamaimo in the HSBC Adelaide CCI****, second leg of the FEI Classics™.
Burton only secured the ride on the Thoroughbred gelding less than a week before the event following injury to the horse’s usual rider Will Enzinger. Burton accomplished a remarkable feat by not only winning a CCI4* event on a catch ride, but also on a horse that was having its first four-star start. To make the feat even more impressive, the new partnership won on their dressage score.
With less than a fence separating the top six going into the show jumping phase, Burton’s masterful clear aboard TS Jamaimo set the standard, which none of those to follow could emulate.
“The real glory,” said Burton, “belongs to Will Enzinger and his team for preparing the horse. Will has been on the phone to me every day; all I had to do was get on. But I have to admit to sitting in my tack room on the morning of cross-country day thinking ‘Why am I doing this?’ but I love Adelaide.”
Enzinger, who broke his leg in a fall with a novice horse the week before Adelaide, spent cross-country day in surgery having his leg operated on.
Team silver medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, Sonja Johnson was eighth overnight with Rebecca and Simon Bell’s Australian Stock Horse and former polo pony and another four-star rookie, Belfast Mojito, but moved up to second with a confident clear show jumping round. “He really stepped up to the mark and I am thrilled, but none of us come here to come second,” declared the sheep farmer from the West. Johnson’s other ride, Nikki Harwood’s former racehorse, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, lowered two rails to slip from sixth to eighth.
Johnson was not the only one to feel the agony of the final jumping phase. Last year’s winners, Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire, looked well on their way to a clear round when the very last fence fell, robbing them of back-to-back Adelaide HSBC CCI**** victories. They finished in third, but with Barrett still declared himself: “thrilled with her, I can’t ask much more than that.”
Shane Rose and Taurus slipped from second to fourth place when two rails hit the ground, while Rose’s dressage leader, CP Qualified, went from third to seventh place with the addition of 8 jumping and 2 time penalties, but it was a promising performance from another newcomer to four-star competition.
Last to go, much was expected of overnight leaders Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio. Tinney is an accomplished jumping rider, but the bred-to-jump gelding slipped to fifth place with the addition of 8 jumping and 1 time penalty.
Former eventing team selector Seumas Marwood moved from 12th after the dressage phase to sixth overall thanks to a brilliant jumping performance from his Contango II mare, Wild Oats that added only 2.4 cross-country time faults to their dressage score.
Just three—the winners Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo, Sonja Johnson riding her polo-playing Stock Horse, Belfast Mojito, and Seumas Marwood with his warmblood mare Wild Oats—were clear over the fences and on the clock in the show jumping. And only the winners finished on their dressage score, with runners-up Sonja Johnson and Belfast Mojito just shy of that with the addition of 1.2 cross-country time penalties.
HSBC Adelaide CCI**** Final Results
1. Christopher Burton/TS Jamaimo (AUS) 49.70
2. Sonja Johnson/Belfast Mojito (AUS) 51.40
3. Craig Barrett/Sandhills Brilliare (AUS) 52.80
4. Shane Rose/Taurus (AUS) 54.10
5. Stuart Tinney/Pluto Mio (AUS) 54.90
6. Seumas Marwood/Wild Oats (AUS) 55.60
7. Shane Rose/CP Qualified (AUS) 56.90
8. Sonja Johnson/Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (AUS) 57.50
9. Soigne Jackson/Gold (AUS) 65.20
10. Katja Weimann/BP Flamboyant (AUS) 67.90