Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WEG Show Jumping: U.S. Show Jumping Team Third in Fiercely Contested Competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games - by Brian Sosby

U.S. Show Jumping Team Third in Fiercely Contested Competition at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games - by Brian Sosby

Lexington, KY -  After a fantastic start to the Individual competition on Monday, four members of the U.S. Show Jumping Team returned to the Rolex Stadium as the Jumping World Championships presented by Rolex began on Tuesday morning at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.

Monday's action set the stage for big things for the U.S. Team after two riders ended the Speed Round in the top two places. Mario Deslauriers and Urico set the pace with a blistering clear round in a time of 71.25 seconds to take the lead. Last in the ring on Monday, McLain Ward and Sapphire were nearly as fast to sit second.

Clear rounds were hard to find Tuesday over Conrad Homfeld's course and some unlucky moments plagued the U.S. riders as none of them managed to jump a clean round over the challenging track.

The coveted Team medal will be decided after the second team round is competed on Wednesday night. Scoring for the Jumping World Championships is a mathematical formula based on the round's leading rider, whose score is converted to zero. From there, each rider following the number one rider has their times/scores converted from seconds into a numerical figure that represents their score. Today's Team competition saw 119 starters and Khaled al Eid on Presley Boy sits atop the individual standings after two rounds for Saudi Arabia.

Leading off the U.S. effort was Lauren Hough, 33, of Wellington, FL, with Quick Study (Quick Star x What A Joy), an 11-year-old French Warmblood gelding owned by Laurie and Meredith Mateo.

The pair had four faults for an unlucky rail at the last fence and one time penalty. The pair pulled the first rail on the very last jump - a six-stride to an oxer.

"Well, zero [faults] are always better than five, but going first today was a difficult position," said Hough. "It's hard to judge the time. I knew it was going to be short, so I tried to be quick without risking too much.  Unfortunately, I think they only changed [the time] to 84 seconds, so that still leaves me with a time fault.  I'm disappointed. That could hurt us in the end. But I've got some strong teammates behind me, so hopefully they'll pull through."

Second to go for the U.S. squad was overnight leader Deslauriers, 45, of New York City, NY, and Urico (Zandor Z x Fedor), the eight-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark.

The pair was scheduled 25th in the order-of-go; however, the horse pulled a shoe in the warm-up which required the farrier's attention. Quickly replaced, the horse was ready to jump shortly after his original draw. 

Urico caught the tape of the water jump to pick up four faults, and also had the last rail down for a total of eight faults.

"At the wall to the water jump...I kind of drifted left a little, and that made my striding a little off," he said. "And the last fence...I think it was a little bad luck.  I think he over jumped the front rail and just got it behind a little.  But the rest, he jumped fantastic. Four faults would have been better than eight, but we'll just have to deal with the situation now and count on Laura and McLain."

Laura Kraut, 44, of Wellington, FL, and Cedric (Chambertim x Carolus I) is a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Happy Hill Farm.

were third up for the U.S. Team and last to go in the morning session of jumping. She hoped to improve upon her eight-fault ride in the first round of the Individual competition. But, the triple combination had plagued horses and riders all day, and halfway through Cedric's round, the middle element claimed another victim. 

"I'm disappointed that I had the one down because usually he's a really good triple combination jumper," said Kraut. "I never usually have to worry about B or C, just to get A right.  I maybe should have helped him a little today. So, I'll look for that tomorrow night to try to correct it."

The afternoon session saw the final U.S. rider tackle the course as McLain Ward, 34, of Brewster, NY, and Sapphire (Darco x Hedjaz), the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by McLain Ward, Tom Grossman and Blue Chip Bloodstock, completed the team's effort for the day. The pair came into the Team competition on zero faults, second individually behind teammate Deslauriers and Urico.

Before a stadium full of her fans, Sapphire jumped with her usual brilliance, but an uncharacteristic and very unlucky rail after the water jump meant Ward now has some ground to make up.

"I think it was a little bit consequential of riding the water," said Ward. "Sapphire's never been the most spectacular water jumper. A lot of horses this afternoon were jumping in it, so I really had to ride that strong.  When I pressed up to the green oxer, I had a little more horse than I expected, and I got there too early.  I can't really fault her.  I was too close to the jump."

Ward feels great about his horse, however, and he is looking forward to improvements on the second day of Team competition.

"Our team's had a little bit of bad luck today. We've had a little bit of 'four-fault-itis.'  None of the rubs really fell our way," he said. "But, that's show jumping. We're staying close, and we're going to try to turn our scores into clears tomorrow night."

Individually, McLain Ward and Sapphire currently stand at ninth place on a calculated score of 4.270, followed by Mario Deslauriers and Urico at 22nd place (8.000), Laura Kraut at 37th place (10.040) and Lauren Hough at 40th place (10.420).

After Round One of the Team competition, the U.S. riders sit in third place on a combined team score of 18.69 (the lowest score is dropped) going in to Wednesday's decision-making medal round. Germany leads with 17.80 followed by Brazil (18.49). The top four teams are separated by just over a point.

No comments:

Post a Comment