Fox-Pitt Maintains His Lead After Cross-Country At Rolex Kentucky

Apr 24, 2010 - 11:00 AM

Cool Mountain made his first four-star cross-country look easy as he quietly galloped to a double-clear round with Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt to maintain his dressage lead of 42.8 at Rolex Kentucky on April 24.

Kim Severson moved up to second place on Tipperary Liadhnan (44.8) by adding no penalties to her dressage score ahead of Becky Holder on Courageous Comet (45.2). Phillip Dutton sits in fourth with Woodburn (47.7) and fifth with The Foreman (48.0) ahead of Karen O’Connor and Mandiba (48.1)

Listen to an interview with Dutton.

The cross-country schedule was rearranged to try and avoid a major storm front coming through Lexington, Ky. The organizers decided to skip the lunch break and run the afternoon horses every four minutes instead of every five. This move proved wise, as the thunder and lightning rolled in around 3:15 p.m.

“I’m naturally very happy. I knew I had a very genuine horse,” said Fox-Pitt. “I thought the course would be demanding physically on the horses, and it proved to be. My chap got a little bit tired, but he’s a bit lazy anyway. He’d like to pull himself up after three minutes—that’s how he is. That’s why he does nice dressage. He doesn’t have any desire to go any faster than you’re making him.”

Listen to an interview with Fox-Pitt.

Severson expressed surprise at her good standing. “Paddy’s been quite a good cross-country horse all along. That’s been his strongest thing. I was really pleased with him, despite trotting the corner in the water. I don’t know what happened there,” she said. “Paddy” broke to trot after dropping into the Head of the Lake and cleared the maximum corner at 15C without breaking into canter.

Severson and Fox-Pitt said their horses grew more tired than they expected. “As we’ve experienced here before, when the ground starts to dry up, it becomes a bit more holding. He was really great up until nine minutes, and then he definitely got tired,” said Severson. “It will be interesting to see how he comes out tomorrow.”

Holder finished exactly on the time allowed of 11:08.

“I was determined not to pay too much attention to the clock. The main fence I was worried about was coming out of the water [at 16B],” she said. “Comet can be a little spooky from time to time about weird footing changes. Phillip [Dutton] said that his horse, The Foreman, had a moment of not reading it, and that made my decision that I would go around and loop over and take the long way. He’s such a quick horse, and he has a fantastic gallop, and I think you can get on the time that way. He finished full of run.”

The day went smoothly over Michael Etherington-Smith’s cross-country course until the third-to-last horse. Oliver Townend sustained a serious fall at the Hollow (fences 20 and 21 ABC). The British superstar had fought hard even to attend Rolex Kentucky after Iceland’s volcano eruption interrupted air travel all over Europe, and Townend was hoping for a Kentucky win to complete the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam.

He’d ridden his first horse, ODT Master Rose, into seventh place earlier in the day, and he was most of the way around the course on Ashdale Cruise Master when the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding hung a leg at fence 20, the Hollow, and fell on Townend. He was conscious and able to move after his fall and was transported by helicopter to the University of Kentucky Trauma and Emergency Services Emergency Department. The horse was examined and sustained no major injury.

There were several other falls on course, but none requiring transport for horse or rider. Kristi Nunnink on R-Star and Tara Ziegler on Buckingham Place also sustained falls at the Hollow, but horses and riders were up and walking afterwards.

Jennifer Wooten-Dafoe had an unlucky fall from The Good Witch at fence 4, the Covered Bridge. Dorothy Crowell parted company with Radio Flyer at the Park Question coffin. Michael Pollard fell off Wonderful Will into the water at fence 6, the Duck Marsh.

Andrea Baxter was eliminated with Estrella for three stops on course. Amy Tryon pulled up Coal Creek after two stops, as did Leslie Law with Fleeceworks Mystere du Val. Phillip Dutton was held on course after Townend’s fall, and he decided to take Waterfront home at that point, since they’d had a runout at the final element of the Park Question. Hilda Donahue retired Extravagance after one stop, as did Colin Davidson with Draco.

Of the 51 riders who started, 39 finished. Ten finished with double-clear rounds, and 30 finished with no jumping penalties.

Show jumping begins tomorrow, April 25, at noon.

Full results can be found on the RK3DE website. Be sure to visit the Chronicle’s live blog to follow all the action. Read all the Chronicle coverage on the 2010 Rolex Kentucky page.

Category: Eventing
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