William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk win the second stage of eventing’s Grand Slam. John has the full report from Kentucky.
Top photo: William and Parklane Hawk for the win, photo by Samantha
William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain won his second Rolex (’10 Cool Mountain) and the second of three steps to the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing today at the Kentucky Horse Park. William and the 2011 Burghley champion Parklane Hawk entered the show jumping arena with a rail in hand. They pulled a rail at fence number 6 but jumped clear after that for the win. The Kentucky crowd was supporting William at every jump–he is a true champion and a great representative of our sport. Everyone here this weekend (and I am sure throughout Eventing Nation) will be cheering William on at Badminton next weekend to win and capture the Rolex Grand Slam by winning Burghley, Rolex, and Badminton consecutively.
The United States finished a great weekend by taking the next 4 placings behind William. Allison Springer, Boyd Martin, Karen O’Connor, and Will Coleman all made different but significant steps forward this weekend. Jonathan Paget and Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand finished in 6th and 7th, and the four placings behind them went to the USA.
Just 5 horses finished the show jumping with double-clear rounds (Otis, Mr. Medicott, Twizzel, Qwanza, and Gordonstown). Only three pairs finished the weekend on their dressage score–Boyd with Otis, Will Coleman and Twizzel, and Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza. William’s win gives the last three Rolex wins to Great Britain (William ’12, Mary King ’11, and William ’10). The last US Rolex champions were Phillip Dutton and Connaught in 2008.
Rolex Final Results:
1. William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk (GBR) +4 45.3
2. Allison Springer an Arthur +4 47.0
3. Boyd Martin and Otis Barbotiere +0 51.0
4. Karen O’Connor and Mr. Medicott +0 51.0
5. Will Coleman and Twizzel +0 51.3
6. Jonathan Paget and Clifton Promise +8 (NZL) 52.8
7. Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza +0 (NZL) 55.8
8. Boyd Martin and Remington +4 56.9
9. Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Demeter +12 63.8
10. Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice +8 66.7
[Full Rolex Results]
Allison Springer pulled one and ultimately very costly rail with Arthur, but they finished the weekend with a wonderful result in 2nd place and they were the highest placed US pair. They started off their show jumping round looking nervous and not nearly forward enough but they pulled things together quickly. This weekend validates a ton of hard work from Allison and is a really big step forward. There’s a long way to go until London, but this finish certainly puts Arthur back into team consideration. Allison noted in the press conference that she was left off of the US Team training lists this winter and she said that might have let her focus on what she needed to focus on. Arthur also won the best conditioned horse award.
Otis Barbotiere wins the unofficial EN award for the highest placed four-star rookie at Rolex in 3rd place. Otis finished on his dressage score in his first four-star despite the incredibly tough cross-country and show jumping courses. Otis jumps so big with his hind end that it is hard for Boyd to stay steady in the saddle, but the upside is that there was never a risk of Otis pulling a rail with his hind end. You would be hard pressed to find a bigger Neville fan than me, but the question of Neville or Otis for London is going to gain momentum after this weekend. Boyd also has Remington, who finished in 8th, and Ying Yang Yo in Olympic contention.
Here’s how the rest of the rides played out, starting with the first to go today…
One of my favorite pairs this weekend, Jordan Linstedt and Tullibards Hawkwind started the show jumping Sunday afternoon with 16 penalties but Jordan was a class act and rode great, as she did all weekend. It looked as though Richard Jefferies’ show jumping course might be a little mild this year when the second pair of the day, Madeline Blackman and Gordonstown, jumped clear. Little did we know how hard that accomplishment would prove to emulate for the riders after them. Maddie and Gordonstown were the only riders of the first group to jump clear and most of those early pairs pulled one or two rails.
Jessica Hampf and High Society firmly ensconced themselves in Canada’s high performance picture by following up their clear ride yesterday with two rails today. Kate Hicks and Belmont added just one rail to their clean round yesterday–Jimmy Wofford’s prediction of a good weekend for turned out to be exactly correct.
Erin Sylvester capped off an amazing first Rolex with just 4 penalties all weekend. That is an absolutely huge achievement and you have to expect great things from them in the future.
Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott were the first to ride after the first 10 minute TV break and they got us started off right, pulling just one rail. Canada started the weekend with 3 pairs at Rolex and they will finish with two in the top 20. After this weekend, Peter and Kilrodan Abbott are definitely in consideration for London.
Mighty Nice and Phillip Dutton continued to impress the crowd in their show jumping. Mighty Nice’s barn name is Happy and you can see why–he is so thoughtful, kind, and engaged over the fences. It makes me happy just watching him work.
Appropriately, Andrew Nicholson and Qwanza became the first pair today to finish the weekend on their dressage score. Their dressage test didn’t give them a chance to win Rolex, but anyone finishing this weekend with no jumping faults should be incredibly proud of their horse.
The final 7 rides aired live on NBC TV and the rest is history.