Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eventing: Adelaide: Australian International: Craig Barrett on the verge of winning his first Adelaide CCI4*

24 November 2012

Craig Barrett on the verge of winning his first Adelaide CCI4*

New South Wales rider Craig Barrett has emerged as the new leader of the Australian International CCI4* after a difficult cross country course caused a number of combinations to prematurely end their campaign for this year’s title.

Image: Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire. Photo credit: www.inmotionphotography.ifp3<http://www.inmotionphotography.ifp3>.com

Craig and his 15 year old mare Sandhills Brillaire will enter Sunday’s show jumping phase with a commanding eight penalty lead over second positioned Natalie Blundell (Algebra). Their strong performance around the difficult cross country course effectively gives them a two rail advantage for the final.

Craig’s other horse Wendela Jamie - which was in second place leading into today’s cross country phase, was one of six horses to fall short of the finish line.

“The mare that went first was absolutely sensational, I couldn’t be happier with how she performed. She is just a great horse and she did a great job today.”

“I feel a bit sorry for Wendela Jamie because I don’t feel I did him justice. He’s a much better horse than the results show but that’s just the nature of eventing,” Craig said.

Just eight combinations completed today’s cross country phase with the course testing even the most experienced riders. Beijing silver medallist Shane Rose, who was leading the field after dressage, and Sydney gold medallist Stuart Tinney, who was in third before today’s phase, also made the decision to retire.

For many combinations it was a narrow fence at one of the water jumps which was their undoing.

“There was definitely something the horses didn’t quite understand, maybe it was to do with jumping in (to the water). Some horses jumped it beautifully… but it was more than coincidence that six horses in a row ran out to the side,” said technical delegate Alec Lochore.

“It’s easy in hindsight to consider all sorts of factors – was it the jump into the water, was it the light and shade. (It would be premature) to do a post mortem analysis right now, I need to consider it in more detail,” he said.

The Adelaide International Three Day Event is the second leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC FEI ClassicsTM – a six series competition made up of the world’s only four star event competitions. The AI3DE is the only four star event in the southern hemisphere.

Sunday’s show jumping action will decide this year’s winner. Action is set to get underway from 2:30pm local time.

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