Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class finished double clear on their dressage score of 21.1., to maintain his top position going into stadium tomorrow but has less than a rail over Tim Price on Xavier Faer, who also finished xc on their dressage score of 24.3. Boyd Martin and On Cue are in third with 25.0. It should be an exciting jump off tomorrow.
The course was tough — and made tougher by the rolling hills. Several horses (including Cooley Master Class) looked tired in the long gallop up the final hill, although as a testament to the fitness, there were some who finished with plenty of gas in their tanks.
Commenting on Ian Stark’s Maryland 5 Star cross-country course, Oliver said:
“It’s more than a five-star track with the undulations. It would be a five-star track on the flat, you add the undulations and it sorts the wheat from the chaff.
“We didn’t anticipate it being this tough here and it shows you what an unbelievable horse he is. He gives me his brain in start box and even if he doesn’t like the look of something, he lets me make him go between the fences. I’m so honoured to ride him, he’s a special one.Oliver Townend in Horse & Hound
“The terrain is just brutal. Near the end of the course the combinations test your adjustability, which is difficult on a tired horse, especially when you’re throwing terrain into it too. Burghley is the one we’ve all compared this to, but I think we’ll see more worn out horses here than Burghley.”Will Coleman in Horse & Hound
The 5* cross country started earlier than originally scheduled to avoid an incoming storm. Timing is everything, and the rain held off until the last rider was on course.
I couldn’t find a video posted of Tim Price, but I’ll add one if it comes available. I watched the cross country on demand this afternoon and it was fabulous.