Lexington, KY - Sunday at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone proved to be as influential as its predecessor - but the top two placings did not change and Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt rode Catherine Witt's Parklane Hawk to top honors. The lovely New Zealand Thoroughbred made unbelievably light work of Saturday's cross-country course and jumped another phenomenal round in the Rolex Stadium - having just one rail at the first part of the double combination to take home a second Rolex watch for Fox-Pitt, who also won in 2010. They finished on a three day score of 45.3, less than two points clear of the runner-up.
Click here for complete results: http://www.rk3de.org/results.php
"I am not sure I can repeat that," said Fox-Pitt about knocking down his one rail. "I thought that was going to be a tricky fence for him. He was just arguing a little bit today. It was a fantastic competition and I was very fortunate to come out on top. It was a serious show jumping track and I am just lucky that Allison took that long route at the third last (on the cross country)."
With this win, Fox-Pitt adds the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam. He won at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last fall. He heads to Badminton next week and if he can pull off a win there - he will take home the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. He has two horses entered at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Only one other person has won all three events in succession (to win the Grand Slam) before - Great Britain's Pippa Funnell in 2003.
"It is a fantastic position to be in and it is very exciting for Rolex as well because it gets more interest and attention outside of the sport," said Fox-Pitt. "It is the closest I have ever got to the Grand Slam. I have won four-stars before but I have never managed to win two in a row. To win three is fairly unlikely, but we'll see."
Allison Springer (Marshall, VA) and Arthur won the dressage, but time faults on yesterday's cross country course meant they dropped behind the British combination and stayed there, as they too added a rail in Sunday's show jumping. Springer and Arthur finally delivered on so much expectation and took home the 2012 Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship with their effort. For the first time, this honor also comes with an 18 month lease on a Land Rover from the Official Vehicle of the event and of the USEF.
"I was very, very pleased with my horse," said Springer. "I have worked very, very hard. I know my bogey jump is a big square oxer over liverpools. So I am going to be jumping a lot of those but I was thrilled with him."
The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse, who Springer owns in conjunction with her parents, have had a long relationship together and have competed around the world. But their record has been a bit inconsistent. The chips fell into place over the weekend - and despite several rubs, they only dislodged one rail. Richard Jeffery's course was technical and rails were spread across the track - there were only five clear rounds.
"This is a tremendous horse," said Springer. "He has not been easy to produce and I have had to produce myself too. But I think I have really worked on his skills, my skills. I was excited to come into the show jump ring. I knew how I had to ride and I felt confident in my ride in what I needed to do. "
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, VA) and Otis Barbortiere jumped a foot-perfect on the cross country and backed it up with a duplicate effort to finish on a score of 51. The 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding, who is owned by a syndicate bearing his name, has had a meteoric rise to the CCI4* level. The white faced bay gelding cruised to third at his first attempt at the level and became Reserve National Champion in the process.
"I was thrilled," said Martin. "I was very fortunate that I rallied a syndicate to buy the horse. The syndicate really believed in my choice. I am just so happy that this horse confirmed what I thought of him and I think he is as good as anything I have had and you know he is going to be very, very strong in all three phases. It's a fantastic result for his first four-star."
They finished tied with Karen O'Connor (Ocala, FL) on Mr. Medicott Syndicate's Mr. Medicott - but were faster on the cross country and finished on their dressage score to break the tie.
Clear rounds were hard to find today and those, along with the rest of the rounds, are available as video on-demand on the USEFNetwork presented by SmartPak.
Photo: Allison Springer and Arthur (Photo by Shannon Brinkman)