Experience leads the way after the Dressage phase of the Deloitte Australian International 3 Day Event, the second leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 series calendar. Crowd favourite and home town girl Megan Jones heads the leader board after the Dressage in the 4* competition riding her home-bred Kirby Park Irish Jester.
“It was exciting to be back at Adelaide with Jester,” commented Jones after her posting a winning score of 43.30. It was far from his best Dressage mark, but Jones was delighted to be in the driving seat again with her 2005 Adelaide 4* winner.
And relief it must be, as the 2006 world and 2008 Olympic team silver medalist almost died after a severe bout of travel sickness on the way to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky last year.
Now, with five months preparation time and two pre-Adelaide competitions, thismm weekend will prove the test to determine the possibility of the 18-year-old Jester having another crack at the Olympic Games. At the end of day one Jones was glad “he remembered how to do it”.
Sydney Olympic team gold medalist and regular Australian team member Stuart Tinney was delighted with Panamera, which he co-owns with his wife Karen and Tim Game. By Staccato, a former Eventing Stallion of the Year out of a Thoroughbred mare by Lunchtime, Panamera has been touted as an international prospect for some time and she looked it today with a “lovely and relaxed” test to hold second place with 44.50.
Shane Rose, Beijing Olympic team silver medalist and long time stalwart of the Australian Eventing team holds third place on 45.50 riding his own and John Walker’s Taurus and was “fairly happy” with his test. The promising nine-year-old Warmblood gelding by Aries has made quite a rapid ascent to the top level of Eventing and Rose felt that he was “being a little protective, as he is young and inexperienced at this level”.
Experienced Italian Eventing rider Fabio Magni has only been riding Watermark Grayson for just two weeks. His beautiful Dressage test aboard the horse, now owned by the Societa Agricola La Srl was good enough for equal fourth place with 47.50.
Grayson was formerly ridden by Stuart Tinney and prepared by the Tinneys for Adelaide. Italy via Australia to London may be the long way around, but a good performance here may well prove to be Magni’s Olympic ticket.
One third of the 31-strong field in the CCI 4* in Adelaide consists of riders contesting their first 4* competition, and Emma Scott from rural New South Wales leads the debutantes after the Dressage. The promising rider is in equal fourth place with her home bred Jenbern Monyana, who won the CCI 2* in 2009, and is also in sixth on 47.70 on Mustang bred by Rome Olympic team gold medalist Neale Lavis.
Christine Bates made an impressive start to the competition with her 2011 Sydney CCI 3* winner, Adelaide Hill. The beautiful light chestnut by Stirling Sprite having his first 4* run, was bred by Beth Turner and is considered a serious international prospect, and the HSBC 4* competition will determine just where he is in that progression to international representation. Adelaide Hill holds seventh place with 47.80 and really looks to be able to improve on that score, as it took some time for the horse to settle in the atmosphere.
Just 4.50 penalties separate the top seven horses in a competition that Ground Jury President Anne Mette Binder declared “a strong field”.
Cross Country day tomorrow is always popular and the field is one of the best yet seen at Adelaide. Megan Jones declares Wayne Copping’s course “fair but tough; tougher and better than it has been in the past”.
HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 Adelaide leg: Leaderboard after Dressage
1 Megan Jones (AUS) Kirby Park Irish Jester 43.30
2 Stuart Tinney (AUS) Panamera 44.50
3 Shane Rose (AUS) Taurus 45.50
4 Fabio Magni (ITA) Watermark Grayson 47.50
4 Emma Scott (AUS) Jenbern Monyana 47.50
6 Emma Scott (AUS) Mustang 47.70
7 Christine Bates (AUS) Adelaide Hill 47.80
8 Emma Mason (AUS) F1 Pharinelli 48.00
9 Natalie Blundell (AUS) Algebra 48.30
10 Tim Boland (AUS) GV Billy Elliott 49.20
Watch the action live on FEI TV: HSBC FEI Classics™ in Adelaide will be live for Cross Country on Saturday, 19 November 03:10 CET, with a replay at 10:00 CET, and Jumping on Sunday at 05:00 CET, with a replay at 10:00 CET.
Follow the results on www.australian3de.com.au/.
HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 Leaderboard (after Pau)
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 15
2 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 12
3 Mary King (GBR) 8
4 Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) 6
5 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 4
6 Christopher Burton (AUS) 3
7 Frank Ostholt (GER) 1
Photo caption: Megan Jones (AUS) in the lead after Dressage at HSBC FEI Classics™ in Adelaide. Jenny Barnes Photography/FEI.