The CCI4*-S standings remained unchanged at The Fork presented by Luck Clays Farm, as Liz Halliday-Sharp bested the top two division spots with Fernhill By Night (28.80) and Deniro Z (30.10), after the second phase of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Saturday. Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg will also ride into Sunday’s final phase on the White Oak Cross-Country Course in their previous third place position, with a score of 30.20.
Despite having one rail down in her show-jumping round, Halliday-Sharp held onto the lead with the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentina XII). “Blackie’ [Fernhill By Night] jumped out of his skin, and I thought I had it in the bag,” explained Halliday-Sharp of her first ride. “He was my first of the group and it [the rail] was probably my fault, maybe I was a little too casual about it because I thought I had it done and I know better, but the horse jumped amazing, they all did, so it’s not his fault.”
Moving into the cross-country phase tomorrow, Halliday-Sharp noted the different plans she has to consider with her two mounts. “They are both slightly in a different place,” she said, “because Deniro really needs a good prep run for Kentucky. I don’t plan to run him slow because I don’t think that would suit him.
I need to get him a little bit more with me, he was a bit of an animal Carolina,” she continued of the Deniro Z Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties' 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero VDL x Zonne-Trend). “He’s like an airplane now, he’s so strong and has so much power and I just need to make sure he’s listening to me and that I can put him in the same place looking ahead, so that will be my goal with him.”
“With Blackie,” she noted, “I’m going to try and make the time and try and take him to the win. I think it’s a stronger track than Carolina, in my opinion, I think there’s a lot more to do than there was there, so it will take some riding for sure, especially if you’re going fast. I’m just going to go out and try to give them a really great run and lots of confidence and kick on.”
Martin and Christine Turner’s 12-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall PG x Thabana) rode a faultless show jumping round, that also set them up for success moving into cross-country. “Tsetserleg, he jumped really well today,” said Martin. “For him, he’s a little bit tricky sometimes in the combinations, and this morning I got up early and just popped him through a couple small, sort of novice-like combinations over and over again, and it just got him thinking, waiting and slow. I was pleased that he jumped not only clear, but in good fashion. I think leading into Kentucky it’s not so much the result, but the feeling they’re giving you when you ride them.”
The duo is seeking redemption as they contest the WEG course that proved to be tricky for them the first time around, last September. Martin elaborated: “This is good coming here. It’s a very weird sport, eventing, because one jump can just destroy everyone’s emotions and moral for months and months, so it’s good to be back. Obviously, the boat in the water, I really want to give Thomas a good ride at that spot, and I’ve probably gone over that jump [in my mind] more times, what I did wrong, or what could have happened differently than any other jump I’ve ever jumped, so I’m looking forward to going in there and riding that in a better way.”
Doug Payne put in a clear round in the jumping phase to remain at the top of the leaderboard in the CCI3*-S division during the third day of Fork competition at TIEC. Payne and the 8-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III x Carmen), owned by Laurie Mc Ree, Doug Payne, and Catherine Winter, ended their afternoon with a score of 27.60.
“My round today was great because I was able to stay on,” Payne joked. “When I was jumping her around last week I nearly fell off in the 1.20m because she jumped me out of the tack. So, I was just trying to stay in the middle!”
He continued, “she’s amazing. She’s an exceptional horse and it’s exciting that she’s becoming comfortable at the height she’s now competing at. She’s a great horse for the future. She’s only a year into her eventing career, she was a show hunter 18 months ago. Not a very good one!”
Payne utilizes the TIEC horse shows often, and had 15 horses (jumpers and eventers) competing at the venue in weeks prior to The Fork. “I think it’s a huge advantage,” he noted, “if you are able to get them in the ring and get them comfortable with everything, that’s ideal. The facility has been very accommodating with everything.”
With a goal set to compete the mare at the Pan Ams, Payne is going to take the final leg of the competition in steady stride. He stated, “I’m looking to have a really good, confident round. We are trying to flatten her out a bit and make her a bit more efficient, so my goal is to have a really smooth round.”
Will Faudree (USA) and Caeleste, the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare (Contender x HappyGoLucky) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, moved into their current second-place spot on a score of 29.60. Third place is held by Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Flash Cooley, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse (CSF MR Kroon x Castlefield Ruby) owned by Cooley Farm, achieving a score of 30.80.
Adequan® Advanced Division
Lynn Symansky (USA) and the 15-year-old Holsteiner mare (Contender x Naomagic I) Under Suspection, owned by Mary Ann Ghadban, currently hold a score of 31.20, and will head into tomorrow’s final cross-country phase leading the Adequan® Advanced Division of The Fork competition. Will Faudree (USA) and PFun, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus x Celerina) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, were the initial leaders after the conclusion of show jumping, but the pair withdrew and will not continue onto the final round. Ariel Grald (USA) will take to the Captain Mark Phillips designed course aboard Anne Eldridge’s 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Master IMP IHR x Ardragh Bash) gelding, Leamore Master Plan in second place, after earning a score of 31.40, while Boyd Martin (USA) sits in third aboard the Long Island T Syndicate’s thirteen-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Ludwig Von Bayer x Haupstsbuch Highlight) Long Island T, with a 32.50.
Of her mount, Symansky stated: “She was good. I ended up changing the bit from last time I went in the ring, and she was a bit sassy. I totally take credit for the rail we had down – she jumped really well, I just didn’t ride across the back rail of that oxer. She tried really hard, and it was good to get in a little bit more atmosphere, because she’s been to places that were a little bit quieter, so it was good to get in here and practice in a venue that really prepares you for Kentucky.”
Symansky also explained her plan going into the final phase tomorrow, contesting parts of the course that she rode at the FEI World Equestrian Games last September. “The plan tomorrow will be to have a good run that prepares the horse for Kentucky. I don’t really have the clock in mind – the chips kind of fall where they do.”
She concluded, “I’m excited to ride around the track tomorrow – I rode it on a horse I knew very well last year, and this is one I’ve had the ride on for about a year now. The venue looks great – the ground is great and the courses look awesome. This place prepares you so much. Especially for young horses to come see this kind of venue, and the courses and the footing are really good, with jumper classes going on at the same time so you could even bring young horses or students, too. It really is a fantastic venue for all levels and experience.”
The Fork at TIEC concludes with show jumping and cross-country for all divisions on Sunday.
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