Rome, Italy - May 27, 2015 - As the CSIO 5* Rome 2015 - fratelli d'Inzeo Masters at Piazza di Siena came to a close on Sunday, America's Laura Kraut showed no signs of slowing down. The Olympian finished seventh in the Lord Piana Grand Prix City of Rome with long-time partner, the 17-year-old Cedric, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, in their usual speedy fashion.
Kraut and Cedric were one of only four horse and rider combinations to master Uliano Vezzani's first round course, a track that tested athletes with large obstacles, a technical design and a tight time allowed of only 74 seconds. Kraut and the grey Holsteiner gelding navigated the course in 73.07 seconds without incurring fault, guaranteeing their return at the top of the 25 percent to come back for the second round.
"I thought the course was fantastic," Kraut said. "I thought the first round course was great. It was big, very difficult. The time allowed was right on-I was just under. I think he did a brilliant job, four clear out of 50 in that group, and with that caliber of athletes is exceptional."
The second round proved to be equally as big. Thirteen horses took on the subsequent track, but none would go without penalty. Kraut and Cedric had an unlucky four faults, capturing the seventh place.
"It was such a pity, we would have won it easily," Kraut explained. "It was one of those oxers with the big brush in the middle of it. He jumped it really high in the first round, as he does. When I came back for the jump off, I went a little quicker and he got up in the air and tried to bank off of it with his back legs. He was definitely not having a fence down, he was jumping so carefully, and he really just kicked back at it. The winner had one time fault and it was one of those opportunities that slipped away from you. He just did a funny, silly move."
Had the top 25 percent of the class not been called back for the second round, Kraut and Cedric, on the strength of their first round clear, would have finished in third place with their time of 45.89 seconds.
"He deserved to win it," Kraut said. "He felt fantastic. Honestly, he feels as good as ever. I am really thrilled with him, and I hope he keeps going like this. If he does, we could be doing this at this same time next year, which would be nice. He jumped such a beautiful round, and aside from the silly move in the second round, he was perfect."
Cristina, daughter of the great Piero d'Inzeo, and Guido, son of Master fratelli d'Inzeo's much-loved brother Raimondo, presented Kraut with the Master fratelli d'Inzeo trophy at the conclusion of the grand prix. Kraut placed third on Saturday with Deauville S, owned by Old Willow Farm, a ranking that when combined with her seventh place award on Sunday netted her the Leading Rider recognition.
"It is such an honor to be recognized with such a prestigious trophy," Kraut elaborated. "The d'Inzeo brothers are two of the most famous riders in history. They unfortunately have passed away, but I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet them several years ago. They have created a legacy, and this show in particular is one of my favorites."
Cedric's owner, Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm, was onsite in Rome to watch the action unfold. She was thrilled with the 17-year-old horse's form and rounds. Kraut plans on showing Cherry Knoll Farm's Constable next week during the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show on the famous beach of Pampelonne in Ramatuelle, on the peninsula of Saint-Tropez. Combining glamour and top-level sport, the world's best riders will meet in a fantastic setting from June 4-6, 2015.
"It has been great. I am really happy. If things keep going along the same lines, I would be a very happy girl," Kraut concluded.