Monday, May. 20, 2024

Coudray And Sexson Share The Lead After Cross-Country

Tiana Coudray didn’t come to the Galway CIC***-W this year looking to win. Rather, she mainly came to keep King Street keen, build some confidence and let him get out any tomfoolery or jitters before she takes him to the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** for her first time. She didn’t expect to be sharing the top spot in the standings with Jolie Sexson and Killian O’Connor on Saturday, March 31, after cross-country.
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Tiana Coudray didn’t come to the Galway CIC***-W this year looking to win. Rather, she mainly came to keep King Street keen, build some confidence and let him get out any tomfoolery or jitters before she takes him to the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** for her first time. She didn’t expect to be sharing the top spot in the standings with Jolie Sexson and Killian O’Connor on Saturday, March 31, after cross-country.

The first surprise of the day rang over the loudspeaker when it was announced that overnight leader Gina Miles withdrew due to an ill-timed migraine headache just before the start of the three-star division. Nonetheless, she was still pleased with McKinlaigh’s dressage the day before and has her upcoming Badminton CCI**** (England) trip to keep in mind. So with her 47.7-fault score out of the mix, Grant Hemingway and Nieco gladly stepped into the first position.

But they wouldn’t hold it for long. The last leg of the cross-country course took its toll on the pair and they ended up with 16.4 time faults, which dropped them to 9th place.

“The course was pretty tough,” said Sexson. “Definitely world-class caliber.” She and Killian O’Connor kept their tally clean with no jumping or time faults. The 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse powered through the course like there was no tomorrow. He was even a little strong at first, said Sexson, but once they found their rhythm, nothing seemed to get in their way.

Coudray said King Street also felt strong out of the start box but began to settle by the time they reached the first water complex, Leap Frog Lake. “I was really just hoping for a nice round and some good prep before we head back east,” said Coudray.  She mentioned that she had been pleasantly surprised with King Street’s first two phases this weekend.

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“The dressage test here was different than the one we’ll be doing at Rolex,” Coudray went on. “So I actually had to learn this test the morning of.” Needless to say, finishing fourth in dressage was no disappointment to her.

Galway will be their last run before competing at Rolex Kentucky in April. “I’m so excited and so thrilled to be going,” 18-year-old Coudray exclaimed with a few nerves evident in her smile.

As for tomorrow’s show jumping phase, “If I ride well, he will jump well,” Coudray said simply. “He has been getting a little strong since he’s been getting more fit, so I’ll just have to watch for that.”

Sexson admitted that show jumping may be Killian O’Connor’s weakest phase, but she’s staying poised and keeping her fingers crossed for a good run through tomorrow’s stadium.

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