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Sat, 2014-03-08 12:21

Alexandra Knowles and Last Call Maintain Lead at Red Hills International Horse Trials

Authored By: USEA
Alexandra Knowles and Last Call held onto their overnight lead after the dressage in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series. StockImageServices.com photo.

A steady, clear jumping round by Alexandra Knowles and her own Last Call secured their hold on the lead going into the final cross-country phase at the Red Hills International CIC3* and the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series. Less than one point behind Knowles is Boyd Martin and Trading Aces, who also jumped fast and clear to stay on their dressage score of 41.4.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot proved that the hard work they have put into perfecting their show jumping had paid off, adding just three time penalties to move up from fourth to third place. A double-clear trip moved Katie Groesbeck and her 15.2 Anglo Arab, Oz The Tin Man, into fourth. And last year’s Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion Laine Ashker added just one rail to her dressage score to retain her fifth-place standing. Rounding out the top six with a clear round, moving her from 14th to sixth, is Canada’s Selena O’Hanlon and Bellaney Rock.

William (Fuzzy) Mayo’s show jumping course required accurate riding with the brick wall and the triple combination causing most of the trouble throughout the three FEI divisions. Out of 48 riders, only twelve jumped clear. The jump crew did an admirable job of making sure the footing was in good shape for each horse considering how much rain had fallen the previous day.

This is the first visit to Red Hills for Knowles and Last Call (Land Capitol/Modesto) who moved from California to Lexington, KY just over two years ago with a very successful record at the three-star level to their credit. Boyd Martin, however, is no stranger to the event having placed second here in 2011 on Neville Bardos. His ride this year, Trading Aces, owned by the company Trading Aces LLC, is an Irish Sport Horse by Coevers Diamond Boy out of Bally Vannon Beauty VIII. He won the Richland CIC3* in 2013 and traveled with the US Team to Boekelo last October.

“The show jumping was a bit complicated as the terrain is undulating, and after the rain was a little bit tacky,” said Martin. “My horse is a first-class jumper so I was pretty confident going in.”

Individual silver medalist from the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico, Hannah Sue Burnett, riding Jacquie Mars’s Irish Sport Horse Harbor Pilot (Cruising/Shannon) credits Karen O’Connor for all the help she has given her with show jumping.

“Karen has really helped me during our practice sessions and in our warm-ups this year. Having her closely watch every jump and really practicing hard makes the difference.” David O’Connor, the US Team Coach, broke Harbor Pilot when he was a youngster and rode him through the preliminary level before handing the ride over to Burnett.

All three riders are looking forward to the cross-country phase and the brand new course designed by Hugh Lochore. “I have nothing to compare it to never having been here before,” said Allie Knowles. “It looks very inviting but there is a lot out there to jump and I am looking forward to seeing how it rides.”

Martin was impressed with the new course, commenting that the track is open and with good flow. “It’s a three-star course but I think it was wise not to go over the top this first year and see how everything works out,” he said.

There is no doubt that everyone is delighted with the new and improved Red Hills course as it is both horse and spectator friendly. On the work done here at the Klapp-Phipps Park by Jane Barron and Marvin Mayer’s team, Mayer said prior to the event: “A lot of time and energy has been spent preparing for this year of change. Spectators and riders alike will not be disappointed.”

About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series
Qualifying for the 2014 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Plantation Field CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships September 2014 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.

The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many sponsors:Adequan; Standlee Forage Nunn Finer; SmartPak Equine; Nutrena; Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two;Dubarry; and FITS.

The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada in 2013/2014 featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board. Riders can also earn points on the PRO Tour Series at the Intermediate or two-star level for the Multi Radiance Intermediate Challenge. The 2014 Multi Radiance Challenge Leader Board Champion will win a Multi Radiance MR4 ACTIVET Portable Laser System.

The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2014 PRO Tour Series: Martin Collins USA, The Official Footing of PRO; Multi Radiance Medical, The Official Laser Therapy of PRO & Sponsor of the Multi Radiance Medical Intermediate Challenge ; Tex Sutton, the Official US Equine Air Carrier of PRO; SSG Riding Gloves; Finish Line Horse Products; Midlantic Ltd.; and Mythic Landing Events.

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