Apr 15, 2023

It’s an Alliston One-Two with Nemesis and Karma in CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers

By Jonathan Horowitz - USEA Staff
James Alliston and Nemesis. USEA/Tina Fitch photo

Paso Robles, CA—April 15— James Alliston finished first and second in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Spring International in Paso Robles, California, on Saturday with the two horses he plans to take to this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event—Nemesis for the Kentucky five-star and Karma for the four-star.

Nemesis (Novalis 46 x Maesy), who was second going into cross-country at Twin Rivers, added just 0.8 time penalties and took top honors with a finishing score of 30.0. Alliston and Karma (Escudo II x Travita) finished five seconds under optimum time—and were the only pair in the field of six to do so—on Morgan Rowsell’s four-star cross-country course. They moved up from fifth to second and finished on their dressage score of 39.2.

James Alliston and Karma. USEA/Tina Fitch photo

Both Nemesis and Karma were the youngest in the CCI4*-S at Twin Rivers at 9 years old and will be the youngest for their respective levels in Kentucky—Nemesis as the lone 9-year-old in the CCI5*-L and Karma as one of three at that age in the CCI4*-S.

“I feel good about the preparation obviously,” Alliston said. “I don’t want to put too many expectations on how competitive I think I’ll be with a young horse, and it’s been a while for me personally. It’s whole ’nother world out there with the world’s best obviously. So, I’m happy with how it went this weekend, and hopefully that can be a springboard to a good performance there.”

Having a 9-year-old at eventing’s highest level in 2023 will take Alliston back to his first Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2011 with the Thoroughbred gelding Parker (Marquetry x Hello Mom).

“He was a great horse; I got him as the first horse I got when I came to America [from England],” Alliston said. “We did it together and went up together. I also had another nice horse, Jumbo’s Jake, who we took at the same time, but Parker was sort of one I’d had from the get-go and young, and he ended up doing a lot of Kentuckys. We call him a war horse. He was so durable and sound and just a tough guy.”

James Alliston and Parker in Kentucky in 2014. USEA/Leslie Threlkeld photo

Alliston competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event with Parker every year from 2011 to 2017, running the CCI4* (now CCI5*-L) each year except in 2012 when they competed at Preliminary. Then, Alliston did not compete in Kentucky until last year. In 2022, he finished third with Nemesis in the CCI4*-S. A colic after dressage forced him to withdraw Paper Jam (Paparazzo x Reely Jamin XX) from the CCI5*-L.

Alliston has used the Twin Rivers Spring International as his final run before his last six trips to Kentucky—2013 to 2017 and then his return in 2022.

“It was a beautiful course,” Alliston said about cross-country at Twin Rivers. “It had all the different questions you could want, and they did a great job with the ground because I know they’ve had a lot of different rain this spring.”

Tamie Smith and Elliot V. Tina Fitch photo

Joining Alliston as the West Coast-based riders using Twin Rivers as their final prep before Kentucky were Tamie Smith and Rebecca Braitling. Smith finished third in the CCI4*S with Elliot V (Zavall VDL x Vera-R), a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by the Elliot V Partnership, adding 12.4 time penalties on cross-country for a finishing score of 40.5. They are scheduled to compete in the CCI4*-S in Kentucky, as is Braitling, who won the Advanced level with Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) with clear jumping and a finishing score of 52.5.

Braitling and “Ernie,” a 12-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Arnell Sporthorses, continued their streak of never having a cross-country jump fault in the 29 events they’ve completed since they started competing together in 2019.

Saturday at Twin Rivers also saw the first career FEI win by Molly Duda with Disco Traveler (Donatelli x Cadence), a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, in the CCI3*-S.

The Twin Rivers Spring International will conclude on Sunday with show jumping for the CCI3*-L, which is the first Selection Trial of 2023 for the U.S. team that will compete at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, at the end of October. Other FEI levels that will crown their winners on Sunday will be the CCI2*-L and the first CCI1*-L in the history of Twin Rivers Ranch.

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