The start list for the Mars Maryland 5 Star, which takes place Oct. 18-22, has shrunk once again. Boyd Martin has withdrawn Luke 140, who was slated to be this year’s pathfinder. Now Irish rider Austin O’Connor will be the first down centerline.
On Saturday, the Mars Maryland 5 Star posted a video on Facebook from defending champion Tim Price of New Zealand, explaining why he has withdrawn Falco.
“Of course I’d love for him to be on a plane at the minute and to be winging his way over and for me to be joining him to give it a good nudge at defending our title, but he actually had to undertake some colic surgery,” Price said. “It was a tumor, not actually colic in the end. This nonmalignant tumor apparently could’ve been in his tummy for a long time, or in his gut—I’m not a vet; I’m just a little ol’ horse rider. We’re looking at it as a really fortunate situation where we were able to hook that out of there before it caused any real damage. But what it does mean is that he needs to have some time to recover, so that’s him tucked away for this year.
“He is doing just that, recovering and recovering very well, so we’re really happy with how he’s coming along,” he continued. “So yeah here’s to next year and everything going to plan. And I wish all the competitors all the best for Maryland and the organizers as well, who have always been so great and so accommodating for us to come over and make it such a fun a event to attend. So good luck everyone; have a great show, be safe, but go for it.”
Price, who won the event last year with Coup De Coeur Dudevin, withdrew Falco last week.
Falco, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, won the Pau CCI5*-L (France) in 2021 and earned double bronze medals at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. Price is currently fourth on the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings.
U.S. rider Matt Flynn also withdrew his mount Wizzerd previously.
The five-star kicks off Wednesday, with the jog, and will run through Oct. 22, in Elkton, Maryland.
O’Connor will kick off the dressage on Thursday while Martin, who won the inaugural Maryland 5 Star in 2021, will be last down centerline with his remaining ride, Contessa, on Friday.