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.

Eventing: Adelaide: HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013: Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire claim Cross Country lead in Adelaide

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013: Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire claim Cross Country lead in Adelaide

By Anna Sharpley

Craig Barrett, leader after the challenging Cross Country phase of the HSBC FEI Classics™ in Adelaide, and riding in his first 4* competition, said he was both “absolutely thrilled” and “disappointed” after today’s action: “Sandhills Brillaire went beautifully and galloped really well, but with Wendela Jamie (Dressage leader), I just made too many mistakes”.

It was a dramatic Cross Country day that saw the top three after Dressage failing to make it through the finish flags. Barrett produced the run of the day with the competition trailblazing home-bred Staccato mare, adding just 0.8 of a time penalty to take the lead with a two-day total of 51.80.

Barrett’s other ride, Wendela Jamie, had a runout at the costly number 13, a skinny fence on a related distance off the island in Rymill Lake, and it was here too that Stuart Tinney came to grief and retired after the big grey, Pluto Mio avoided the issue twice.

Shane Rose, who put in a faultless performance to lead the CCI2*, struck trouble early on the 4* track with a runout at 5B riding APH Moritz. A further stop at the Advertiser Hedge saw Rose joining the six 4* competitors to walk home.

Wayne Copping’s track was shortened by 30 seconds, with the Qantas Flyover taken out and the last fence situated close to the misting tents and cooling off area. The weather turned out not to be as severe as predicted, but with horse welfare paramount, the adjustment was applauded by all.

Natalie Blundell from Harden in New South Wales was in contention for London 2012 Olympic Games selection, and with her talented horse Algebra, used her experience to produce only the second clear round over the fences. The pair added 5.6 time penalties and hold overnight second place with 59.80. Natalie won the first Adelaide 4* in 1999 riding Billy Bathgate and declared: “I hope to put pressure on Craig tomorrow”.

“The weather suited the tough Thoroughbred”, commented Craig, with Algebra and Murray Lamperd’s Under The Clocks, both ex-racehorses, proving the point. Murray and Under The Clocks had a runout at the tall Rose Garden Corners at 17ab. He then added some Thoroughbred speed to come home with only 14.8 time penalties to claim third place after the tough Cross Country. Lamperd is an experienced rider, but has not competed at a 4* event for some time. “It was overwhelming; so intense and so big, I need practice to ride at this level again. The horse is honest and I am positive, and that normally gets us through.”

All the riders declared Adelaide a valuable member of the HSBC FEI Classics™ series. The Cross Country track, at just over 10 minutes, was challenging and demanding with the skinny fence 13 coming out of Rymill Lake catching six riders. Technical Delegate Alec Lochore explained: “There was definitely something the horses didn’t quite understand. Some horses jumped it beautifully, but it was more than just a coincidence that six horses ran out to the side. It could have been the jump into water, or the light and the shade.”

Penalties were also spread around the course resulting in runouts. Apart from one rider fall, the faults came from failure to have the horse well enough in front of the leg and straight, resulting in harmless but costly penalties.

Spectators flocked to the venue in their thousands, aiming for the shade afforded by the Adelaide Parklands. The event grows each year and, since it became part of the prestigious HSBC FEI Classics™ series, its profile has undoubtedly grown amongst Australian equestrian enthusiasts.

Event Director Gill Rolton was pleased to comment that the Local South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council were both now fully behind the event. “Running this event is a huge commitment, but we need an event of this stature in this country,” she said.

The final Jumping phase will be staged tomorrow, with Barrett aiming not only to win the Adelaide leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™, but also claim the HSBC Bursary for the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4* event.

Results after Cross Country:

1 Craig Barrett/Sandhills Brillaire (AUS) 51 + 0.8 = 51.80
2 Natalie Blundell/Algebra (AUS) 54.2 + 5.6 = 59.80
3 Murray Lamperd/Under The Clocks (AUS) 50.7 + 34.8 = 85.50
4 John Twomey/Highly Recommended (AUS) 60.5 + 36.8 = 97.30
5 Jessica Manson/Legal Star (AUS) 62.2 + 44.4 = 106.60
6 Keira Byrnes/Fox Hill (AUS) 67.5 + 54.8 = 122.30
7 Crystal Conning/Marcus Aurelius (AUS) 61.2 + 80.8 = 142.00
8 Andrew Cooper/Guest Of Honour (AUS) 62.0 + 95.0 = 157.00

Full results on

Follow the action LIVE tomorrow (Sunday, 25 November) on FEI TV, the FEI’s official video channel:

01:30 CET – 03:30 CET Jumping 2* Competition (*last two hours of competition)
04:55 CET – 05:45 CET HSBC FEI Classics™ Jumping (*also available on Monday 26 November in the afternoon as Video-On-Demand).