Temecula, CA, March 28, 2015 - Tivoli and James Alliston added no penalties on the cross-country course to win the CIC3* at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, finishing on their dressage score of 49.5. Alliston and Tivoli took over the lead with a faultless show jumping round on Friday, and their fast cross-country round kept them comfortably ahead of John Michael Durr on Esprit De La Danse ((52.4) and Jolie Wentworth on GoodKnight (53.6).
Tivoli and Alliston won the Galway Downs CIC3* in March 2012, and that November he followed up that victory with another victory in the Galway Downs CCI3*. But then foot problems and a dispute about his ownership kept home out of action for more than a year. Tivoli, 15, has since had surgery to remove a chip in his hoof and Alliston is his sole owner.
"He's won a lot over the years, but I think I forgot what it felt like to win a big event like this," said Alliston, of San Ramon, CA. "It's great fun to ride him around a big course--he's so scopey. He makes big jumps feel not big, which is a very nice feeling. When they're near the edge of what they can do, it's a big deal if you make a mistake at a jump."
Tivoli was one of six horses in the CIC3* to finish the course with no time faults, a group that included Esprit De La Danse and GoodKnight. Their fast rounds put the pressure on Alliston to be speedy in order to hold his lead, which he knew as the last starter. (In the CIC format, horses start on cross-country in then reverse order of their two-phase standing.)
Durr, of Castro Valley, CA, said that pressure helps him. "I ride better under pressure, and this mare goes better when I feel the pressure," he said. "But it did get a little lonely in the warm-up ring."
Third place represented a significant comeback for Wentworth, of Martinez, CA, who gave birth to a daughter last September. She'd entered GoodKnight in last November's Galway Downs CCI3* but withdrew him before cross-country because she didn't feel fit enough. "Things weren't quite back where they should be then, but I've got my legs back underneath me now. I feel like I really have kind of come back," she said.
Wentworth and GoodKnight had previously placed second or third at the Galway Downs International Events several times. But she said that the headstrong gelding saw several new jumps on Ian Starks' cross-country courses. "Ian is really good about changing the tracks, and it was still a new challenge for my horse. He felt amazing, and he was listening really well," said Wentworth.
Stark, who's been designing Galway Downs since 2007, said he wasn't surprised by the number of fast rounds in the CIC3*. "The standard of riding in the CIC3* was very good, and it wasn't the most technical CIC3* I've ever done, so they were able to keep up a good pace," said Stark. "I wanted the CIC3* to be a good introduction for the younger horses to the level and an enjoyable final run for those going to Rolex Kentucky next month, and I think it did that. I'm happy with the outcome." But he added, "The CIC2* was more technical and a bit twistier. Level for level, the CIC2* had to work harder than the CIC3*."
As a result, CIC2* winner Barbara Crabo on Over Easy was the only rider to finish with no time faults. Her score of 48.9 bested Matt Brown on BCF Bellicoso, who finished with 2.0 time faults for a final score of 50.5. Crabo and Over Easy finished exactly on the optimum time of 6:00. "Heck, yeah, I was going for it! I went out there to win, especially as I was only .4 behind Matt. I love Matt, but not that much!" said Crabo.
She also rode in the CIC3*, fishing fifth on Eveready with a faultless cross-country round, and she agreed with Stark's comparison of the two courses. "The CIC2* It definitely was very technical. It seemed like every other fence had some kind of combination. It rode beautifully, but the time was tough to make," said Crabo.
Despite missing the blue ribbon, Brown was pleased with his horse's performance. "It's always hard to give it up when you're in first place, but my plan was always basically to test his fit ness after time off," he said. "I knew that Barb wasn't going to have time faults-that was a given."
Heather Morris, of Lewisville, TX, galloped Charlie Tango to third place in the CIC2* (52.8), but she won the CIC1* on Russell's Reserve 44.0). Russell's Reserve is a 6-year-old Irish-bred owned by Elizabeth Rader of Dallas, TX. "He's just a great little guy. I love him," said Morris, who grew in Southern California and is moving back. "I expected him to go around great, and he really stepped up. He got a bit tired at the end, but he finished great. I couldn't be happier." Morris said that Rader will now be competing him.
To walk the CIC3* cross-country course with Ian Stark, go to http://www.rideonvideo.net/mobile/watch.php?vid=1e1673fc4.
To see footage of the show jumping phase, go to http://www.rideonvideo.net/watch.php?vid=a6631bf42.
CWD, Devoucoux, Equine Insurance of California, The USEA Adequan Gold Cup Series and the PRO Tour are the Presenting Sponsors of the 2015 Galway Downs International Horse trials.
The Gold Medal Sponsors are: MD Barnmaster, California HorseTrader, Equinox Equestrian Center, Ian Stark Equestrian Centre, John Deere, Professional's Choice, RDO Equipment and Sunsprite Warmbloods.
The Silver Medal Sponsors are: Freedom RV Rentals, La Quinta Inn and Suites of Temecula, Temecula Creek Inn and Smartpak.
The Bronze Medal Sponsors are: Auburn Laboratories, The Boulevard Magazine, Elk Grove Milling, Finish Line Products, Geranium Street Equestrian, California Riding Magazine, Ride On Video, San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, Shires Equestrian Products, Triple Crown Nutrition and Voltaire Design.
The Friend Sponsors are: Eventing Training Online, Copper Meadows Eventing and Revitavet.
Ernest Woodward Farrier is a Patron.