Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eventing: Adelaide: Day Two: Cross Country Results: Mason Steals the Lead in Adelaide

Emma Mason has gone into the lead in the CCI4* at the 2010 Australian Three-Day Event (AI3DE) in Adelaide after today’s Cross-Country phase.

The competition will go down to the wire with just 4.4 penalties separating the top three riders.
Mason, from the Central Coast of NSW, rode 12-year-old gelding F1 Pharinelli conquered the course without jumping penalties adding just 0.8 time faults to improve her position from second after yesterday’s Dressage  phase.  Heath Ryan slipped from the lead to fifth place due to 19.2 time faults.
Mason, 26, trained with Ryan for six years and was based at his property but says whilst Heath will be disappointed to lose his lead in the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest Eventing competition he is “a good sport and has always been supportive” of her.

In her first year of working full time as a lawyer, Mason starts riding by 5:00am and gets back in the saddle to work more horses after work.  “It is hard but I love it and my time with my horses is so important to me, it doesn’t feel like work,” said Mason.

“Pharinelli is a lovely horse, he is spooky and has taken a long time to be confident at this level. He has really matured in the last year,” commented Mason who shares the ownership of the horse with Melody O’Toole from Sydney.

Two of Australia’s most formidable competitors Stuart Tinney and Wendy Schaeffer are breathing down Mason’s neck. Tinney, aboard Sarah Ingham’s Watermark Grayson was one of only two riders to finish the course inside the optimum time (the other was Chris Burton riding Newsprint) thus remains on his Dressage score of 56.7, just 3.9 penalties behind Mason. Tinney, an Olympic Gold medallist was the highest placed Australian rider at the recent World Equestrian Games where he finished eighth on Vettori.  Wendy Schaeffer a dual Gold medallist is in third place on 57.2 with Koyuna Sun Dancer. Schaeffer is renowned for her expertise in show jumping and competed Koyuna Sun Dancer at the Sydney FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier in May of this year.

“Stuart and Wendy are exceptional jumping riders so I will have to be at my best,” said Mason.  “My horse is a good jumper and I have done a lot of show jumping training and preparation with my coach Andrew Barnett leading into this event, so I feel prepared.  I just have to make it happen tomorrow.”
2008 winners Chris Burton and Newsprint are in fourth position on their Dressage score of 57.7.

Thirteen of the nineteen combinations were clear of jumping faults in the CCI4*.  There were two riders who parted company with their horses, Western Australia’s Sophie Warren and Let’s Impress fell after a mistake at fence 10b (a big oxer) and Emily Anker was knocked off Keniski by a tree after the horse tried to avoid a jump at the last moment.

“It was a good day of competition,” commented Event Director Gillian Rolton, “we saw some great performances and will have a nail biting finish tomorrow.”

With their sights firmly set on the London Olympic Games riders are looking to put in a strong performance at this event to tilt the odds in their favour.

In the CCI2* a clear South Australia’s Luke Jones is in the lead on 9-year-old Charlatan, improving his position from fourth.  Disappointment for Chris Burton who lost his lead when Underdiscussion slipped on a turn tipping Chris off.  However, he enjoyed a great round on his second horse Haruzac and has moved into second place. Claudia Graham incurred 3.6 time faults on Park Street Vision to slip one position to third place.

Shane Rose has retained his lead on Statford Neo in the CIC2*. No additional penalties for Robert Palm has moved him into second on Koko Black whilst four time faults dropped Tim Boland and Mercator Du Ry one place to third.

Show Jumping will begin tomorrow at 10:00am.

The AI3DE is Australia’s premier equestrian event and one of only six of its kind in the world and the only one in the Southern hemisphere. The annual event covers three disciplines over three days - Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping - and is the world’s only major Equestrian event staged in the heart of a bustling city centre in the Adelaide Parklands.
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