Two riders whose husbands have previously won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) are at the top of the dressage phase leaderboard after performing brilliant tests at this first leg of the 2009 HSBC FEI Classics™. Bettina Hoy (GER), whose husband Andrew (AUS) won here in 2006, thrilled a large and appreciative crowd with a spectacular dressage test on the 18-year-old grey Ringwood Cockatoo, the oldest horse in the competition. The Hoys are currently based back in Germany, at Warendorf.
Bettina, fifth in the 2008 HSBC FEI Classics™, scored the only mark under 30 (28.8) and holds a 3.5 penalty lead over Olympic silver medallist Lucinda Fredericks (AUS), whose husband and team mate Clayton (AUS) triumphed here in 2007. Lucinda is riding the smallest horse in the competition, Headley Britannia, 15.2hh.
- 50 horses from 9 nations have now completed the dressage phase
- 1 rider was eliminated, Jose Ortelli Jnr (ARG) on Aquiles, because the horse was unsound
- The youngest rider is Tim Lips (NED), 24, the first day’s dressage leader, who is now lying 4th on Concrex Oncarlos.
- The oldest is Bruce Davidson (USA), 59, who is lying 28th on Cruise Lion and 40th on Jam, both greys
- The field includes four Olympic team gold medallists: Bruce Davidson (USA, 2004), Phillip Dutton (1996, 2000 for AUS), Nicolas Touzaint (FRA, 2004) and Peter Thomson (GER, 2008)
- The field includes six 4-star winners: Bettina Hoy (Luhmühlen, Pau), Phillip Dutton (Kentucky), William Fox-Pitt (Burghley 5 times, Badminton, Luhmühlen), Nicolas Touzaint (Badminton, Pau), Lucinda Fredericks (Badminton, Burghley), Bruce Davidson (Badminton, dual world champion)
Keeping it in the Family
Buck Davidson (USA), whose father Bruce is the most successful Kentucky rider of all time, is the highest-placed of the home riders, in third after an impressively smooth and powerful test on the handsome, liver chestnut Irish-bred My Boy Bobby. Buck started riding the horse, which was discovered for him by premier Irish “horse-finder” Clare Ryan, last year. They won a 3-star CIC at Fork Farm (USA) a fortnight ago.
Photos Courtsey of Amy Dragoo/FEI
Best of the British contingent is Lucy Wiegersma (GBR), paying her first visit to Kentucky. She is fifth with a well-ridden test on 4-star debutant Woodfalls Inigo Jones, a big, rangy chestnut. Her compatriot William Fox-Pitt (GBR), the 2008 HSBC FEI Classics™ winner, is sixth on Sea Cookie, formerly ridden by Germany’s Ingrid Klimke, and ninth on Navigator.
The ground jury, David Lee (IRL), Marilyn Payne (USA) and Nicoli Fife (NZL) used the full gamut of marks on Nicolas Touzaint (FRA), also paying his first visit to Kentucky with the 2008 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials winner Hildago de l’Ile. He scored only 2s and 3s for a broken collected trot, but was earning 9s for halt. He is now in 7th place. Phillip Dutton (USA), the defending champion, is 10th on Connaught.
Buck Davidson will be first out on the cross-country phase, which starts at 10.00 hours, Kentucky time, on Ballynoe Castle RM, currently lying 38th.
Lucinda Fredericks said: “I’m looking forward to riding the cross-country course. The ground is fantastic, the fences are fair and I think it’s going to be a fast course. There are places where you need to sit back and set up – I’m a bit of a naughty one for taking pulls - but I’m going to be going out without taking too many risks, and I’m feeling much better now I’ve decided to do the long route at the Sunken Road. There are some big fences at the end of hills, like the quarry, which is a real Badminton fence. The last seven or eight fences will take some jumping.”
- Bettina Hoy: “Cockatoo is a bit like a professor. We know each other so well that we’re like an old married couple. He was just fantastic today, so supple and relaxed. He never disappoints me in this phase – it’s a pleasure to ride him. I owe him everything and I just want him to enjoy the cross-country. I’ve never been here before, so I don’t have any preconceptions as to how the course will jump.”
- Lucinda Fredericks: “Brit and I are like a couple of old ladies. She’s so consistent – I can’t remember the last time she missed a flying change - and tries so hard because her trot is really like a Shetland pony.”
- Buck Davidson: “Bobby is a very easy horse to ride. He’s got a great brain. I’d like to thank Bettina for all the help she gave me last year; she’s changed the way I ride, and it’s amazing to be sitting up here with these greats. We’ll see what happens across country, as this is his first 4-star. My horse isn’t full thoroughbred, but he’s pretty fit.”
1 Bettina Hoy/Ringwood Cockatoo (GER) 28.8
2 Lucinda Fredericks/Headley Britannia (AUS) 32.3
3 Buck Davidson/My Boy Bobby (USA) 39.0
4 Tim Lips/Concrex Oncarlos (NED) 42.0
5 Lucy Wiegersma/Woodsfalls Inigo Jones (GBR) 43.2
6 William Fox-Pitt/Sea Cookie (GBR) 43.5
7 Nicolas Touzaint/Hildago de l’Ile (FRA) 44.3
8 Oliver Townend/Carousel Quest (GBR) 45.2
9 William Fox-Pitt/Navigator (GBR) 46.7
10 Phillip Dutton/Connaught (USA) 47