Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights added another feather to their cap with a win at the Morven Park CCI4*-S. This is the third time the pair have won the class – having won the inaugural Morven Park CIC3* in 2014 and again in 2017.
“Every year we have done this course he has gotten better and smarter about it,” said Rutledge of the 13-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding (BFF Incognito x Let’s Get it Right). “He definitely recognized the ground and he reads it really well which helps because I don’t have to pick and choose where our path is. It was definitely an interesting time this morning because the sun was quite low and there were some fences that were less than stellar because he just didn’t seem them.”
Even though Covert Rights is on a winning streak having just won the Plantation Field CCI4*-S Rutledge said, “This year it is less about winning. It is more about making sure what we need to do when we need to do it.”
Rutledge was winning after dressage, but she just said that his test was “okay” and not quite where she wanted it to be. Two rails down dropped them down to seventh place overnight. “In show jumping the rails were entirely my fault,” she explained.
Rutledge and Covert Rights were the only pair to make time in either the CCI4*-S or Advanced and were the fastest by 18 seconds, but that was never her plan. “I didn’t go out to make the time today – I just went out to use it at as a fitness run because I don’t have aerated footing at home and they did a really good job trying to make it the best footing we can have, so I used it to my advantage and luckily more horse reads things so well and is such a bold creature. He is so easy to turn and he doesn’t pull, so he makes it easy [to make time],” she explained.
The pair now head to the Fair Hill CCI4*-L and will spend the next few weeks “tidying up” their dressage and show jumping.
Alexandra Sacksen and her own Sparrow’s Nio, a 16-year-old Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding (Grange Finn Sparrow x JB) moved all the way up from 14th to second with the second fastest round of the day.
Third place went to Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds, the 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Malibu Moon x Winner’s Ticket) owned by the Sea of Clouds Partnership. They added just 10.8 time penalties today in the horse’s second CCI4*-S.
Fourteen of the 18 CCI4*-S entries started cross-country which is a higher percentage than normal for the event with 10 of those crossing the finish line. The bogey fence seemed to come at the corner in the water at fence 22b which caught out a few pairs.
The Advanced division saw half the class withdraw before cross-country, and only two pairs finished with Arielle Aharoni coming first on Dutch Times, an 11-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding (Good Times x Alino Queen) owned by Christina Aharoni. They added 27.6 time penalties to their overnight score to finish on a 65.5.
Alexandra Baugh and Mr. Candyman, Altorac Farm’s 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Canto x Montara) finished second on a 74.8.
Ema Klugman and Bendigo, Jeni Klugman’s 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Refuse to Lose, won the USEA Area II Championships by adding just 8.8 time penalties to their dressage score.
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While Great Britain has a strong lead in the team competition at Tokyo 2020 after the second session of dressage, the USA has climbed up two places to ninth courtesy of Phillip Dutton’s score of 30.5 on Z.
The world number one Oliver Townend has put Great Britain in gold medal position after the first of three sessions of dressage at the Tokyo Olympics.
Second into the arena, Townend delivered an extremely accurate performance and did not waste a mark on the flea-bitten grey 14-year-old Ballaghmor Class to score 23.6 - the fifth-best mark by a British rider at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings.
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.