Oliver Townend and Cooly Master Class retained their lead after XC today in Kentucky, adding just 1.2 time faults to their dressage score. This gives him less than a rail over Boyd Martin who moved up to second on Tsetserleg (I do have a liking for dark brown Trakehners!) Note: “Coolio” lost a shoe mid-way through the course, which prompted Townend to ride more conservatively.
“He was unbelievable,” said Oliver. “He felt less careful than usual, in a good way. He made up his own mind a couple of times. I’m used to him being behind me and placing him and him jumping too careful, but today he just grabbed the bit and off he went.” Horse & Hound
Although before the course, some riders said they thought Derek di Grazia’s course was easier than last year, in the end, the course was plenty tough enough.
“I didn’t want to say it out loud when I walked it, but I thought the course walked a bit easy this year. I was very surprised when there was so much trouble, and I quickly realized how wrong I was. It was quite a tough course.” Boyd Martin
Although the jumpling clear rate for xc was 70.3% (the highest in five years), there were only three fault-free rounds. The day started with the firth three riders falling: Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack had trouble at the Normandy Bank, causing Caroline to withdraw her second entry, Danger Mouse. Buck Davidson broke his collarbone when he fell from Park Trader, withdrawing his two remaining horses; and Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z fell at fence three, although both are fine.
It should be an interesting day tomorrow!