Lexington, KY- Derek di Grazia's 29 obstacle cross country course proved extremely influential Saturday at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone and caused a tremendous shake-up of the leaderboard. The top of the standings saw an exchange of first and second positions as William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk now lead the field while dressage leaders Allison Springer and Arthur sit in second.
Fox-Pitt demonstrated Saturday why he has won 10 CCI4*s in his career, piloting Catherine Witt's Parklane Hawk to a masterful round Saturday. The 12-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding was one of only seven horses to produce a double-clear round Saturday, to remain on their dressage score of 41.3.
Fox-Pitt heads into Sunday's show jumping phase looking to win the second of the three leg $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing after having won the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with Parklane Hawk.
"I just need to really focus on tomorrow, a little cliché." Said Fox-Pitt, "I hope the horse is okay, comes out of his run today well and he jumps well tomorrow. It is always quite a big track here and we are all going to have our work cut out and you know, who knows what is going to happen."
Springer (Marshall, VA) and Arthur jumped clear over the demanding track to collect just 3.2 time-faults for a two-day score of 43. The 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding galloped confidently around the Kentucky Horse Park with just a slight hesitation jumping into the Bridgestone Park Question at fence number nine. Springer chose to take the long route at the Offset Brushes, number 27AB, three jumps from home.
As well as lying in second place overall following two phases of competition, Springer leads the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship.
"He was really good. It was so loud, I mean the crowds are always amazing here but people were so loud screaming today. I think he is finally to the point even with dressage yesterday that he is kind of getting that they are there for him," said Springer of the horse she owns with her parents William and Carolyn Springer, "So he is really happy. He jogged up well right away in the barn; was really happy and so that is always a good feeling. So yeah he is well-pleased and I am happy."
Occupying the third place position following the cross-country are New Zealand's Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise. Frances Stead's 13-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran galloped confidently around the course to post an immaculate double-clear. They remain on a score of 44.8.
To listen to the full thoughts of the three top placed riders click here.
Lying in joint fourth-place overall and equal second place in the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship on scores of 51 are Boyd Martin and Karen O'Connor. Martin (Cochranville, PA) and the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate's Otis Barbotiere rose 12 places from joint 16th following the dressage on the strength of a double-clear round. O'Connor (The Plains, VA) piloted Mr. Medicott, owned by the Syndicate bearing his name, to a clear jumping effort with just 6.8 time faults.
Of the 57 combinations that contested the dressage phase; only 32 completed Saturday's cross country. Three combinations were withdrawn prior to the start of the cross country, with 15 being eliminated and seven riders electing to retire on course.
The second horse inspection will take place Sunday at 8:30am ET and the show jumping will begin at 12:30PM ET.
The entire final phase of the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone will be live streamed on the USEFNetwork.com presented by Smartpak. The final hour will also be broadcast live on NBC from 2:00pm-3:00pm ET.
In addition to the webcast, the order of go, results, daily reports and photos can be found at http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/Rolex3Day2012
For more information about the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone, visit http://www.rk3de.org/
Follow the 2012 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at http://usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Eventing/
Photo: Allison Springer and Arthur (Photo by Shannon Brinkman)