Lauren Billys claims she has never made time with Castle Larchfield Purdy, but today she set out on a mission and accomplished it. The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Karistos x Hallo Purdy) crossed the finish line with a clean slate in today’s Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L to keep his lead on a 31.0.
“I walked this morning, and I had an incredible sense of peace,” said Billys. “I think it's because I get to ride Purdy. Derek [di Grazia, Billys’ coach] and I had a very firm plan on where we wanted to be because we felt the time was the thing to catch today. Purdy is not a particularly fast horse, but we knew where to be up and he was there. All the lines jumped exactly how Derek described they would jump. Even if I made a mistake, it was exactly the same mistake he said it would be."
Billys has battled to bring Purdy back to this level and her fist pumps at the end of the course proved that it was all worth it. “He showed a lot of heart. I started to cry when I was on course, and I was like, "get it together!"
Second-placed, Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois, the 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate crossed the finish line one second over the time, but still didn’t give much breathing room to Billys who needs to jump clear to take the win. They have jumped clear in every event this year, but had a rail and five time last year in the Rebecca Farm CIC3*.
A double clear round bumped Clark Montgomery up a spot to third with Caribbean Soul, the syndicate owned 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Cimarron Secret x Ogygian’s Dasire) who is making her first start at the level.
James Alliston and Pandora were the only other pair to make the time while local rider, Kim Liddell picked up 3.6 time penalties with Eye of the Storm, and Liza Horan and Lafite added 8.8. Andrea Baxter made the time, but 15 penalties at Indy 500’s arch-nemesis’ corner at 7b dropped her down to seventh. Rebecca Hoos and Leah Breakey both retired their mounts after two stops.
Rembrandt Gets his Toes Wet to Take the CCI4*-S Lead
Ian Stark shook up the CCI4*-S with his cross-country course today – only five of the 13 riders got around without any jump penalties and no one made time. Time proved to be key to take the lead as Sabrina Glaser had the fastest time of the day with Patricia Yust’s Rembrandt, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding.
Glaser’s last start with Rembrandt didn’t go to plan as she tipped off in the water at the Bromont CCI4*-L in June, so they rerouted here and added just 3.2 time penalties.
“He really had his confidence shaken from [Bromont], so I didn’t know what was going happen. We had lots of runs through the water, so our day was either going to end early or finish better than it started,” Glaser said of the course which had four water complexes. “He actually didn’t show any hesitation at all and went out there like a trooper.”
Glaser decided not to compete after Bromont, but just to cross-country school as much as possible. “He didn’t even want to step into water,” she said. “Instead of doing any other competitions I just started him like a baby. Walking him in and out and stay long enough until he would do it on a loose rein. Just lots of pats and lots of good boys and he came out here ears pricked and ready to go. He was a little more nervous in warm-up and I wonder if that was any kind of apprehension and he finished really well.”
The pair have a rail in hand to keep their lead, but Rembrandt doesn’t have the best show jumping record. However, they did leave all the rails up at Rebecca Farm in 2017 and hope for the same luck tomorrow. “I have him since he was 3. The horse owes me nothing. He was bought to be a resale project and bucked everyone off – including me, but I just fell in love with him,” concluded Glaser.
Marc Grandia and Campari FFF, the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Camiros x Tanner) moved up from fourth to second after adding 9.6 time penalties. Campari is owned by Team Rebecca LLC and ridden by one of The Event’s course designers so should feel right at home in Kalispell.
Jennie Brannigan rode Nina Gardner’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, I Bella (Indoctro x Southern Girl) to third place with 11.6 time penalties.
Problems were spread throughout the course, but three pairs picked up 20s at 8c, the final element at the Normandy Bank. Another three ran into trouble at the coffin at 15 including PDQ Leigh who picked up 11 penalties for activating a frangible pin.
Kalli Core Keeps CCI3*-L Lead with Cooley Master Courage
Kalli Core and her own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Master Courage (Courage x Bishops Queen) kept their overnight score of a 30.7 to sit in first in the CCI3*-L.
Megan Sykes and Classic's Mojah, her own 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chambertin x Sevillano) also jumped a double clear round to keep second.
Julie Norman added 1.6 time penalties with Dachelle Melville's Fools Rush In, a 13-year-old Paint gelding (The Spotlight x Miss McBride) to maintain third.
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It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.
There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.