This report from Amber Heintzberger from the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event CCI 4* is another preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this brand new, dynamic and exciting equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. PhelpsSports.com is going to change the standard of equestrian sports coverage on the Internet and will be your best source for up to the minute video, unique and personal audio interviews and late breaking news of the High Performance disciplines. Stay tuned!
Darren Chiacchia Takes the Lead after Second Day of Dressage at Rolex
Lexington, KY – April 28, 2006 - It appeared early in the day that three-time Rolex winner Kim Severson would reign again in dressage when she and Royal Venture, a 16-year-old Australian thoroughbred gelding owned by Plain Dealing Farm, scored a 39.5 in the Rolex KY CCI*** presented by Farnam. This placed her comfortably ahead of overnight leader Mara Dean on Nicki Henley (43.2).
But following the lunch break Severson had to settle for second to her teammate Darren Chiacchia on Timothy Holekamp’s Windfall II, whose brilliant performance rocketed him into the lead on 33.0 penalties. But Severson and Chiacchia have shared the top two standings here before, and said that theirs is a friendly rivalry.
“Obviously we’re both very competitive,” said Chiacchia, “but we’re both on the team and pleased to see each other do well. The first person I want on a team with me is Kim.”
Windfall II is a Trakehner stallion who was imported from Germany, where he was ridden by German Olympian Ingrid Klimke. Together he and Chiacchia won the individual gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games and the team silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, at which Severson was his teammate and also won individual silver.
Royal Venture has long been in the shadow of his stable mate, Severson’s three-time Rolex winner and Olympic silver medal partner, Winsome Adante, also owned by Plain Dealing Farm. This year she decided to give ‘Dan’ a rest, leaving it up to the selectors to decide if Dan has already proved himself worthy of a trip to the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Ideally, both horses will be chosen for the short list, But, if both horses are picked, it remains to be seen which one will be her partner at the Games.
“Royal Venture has been going very well this season,” said Severson. “He might even have a little edge on Dan right now,” she suggested.
Yesterday’s top rides stayed at the top: Becky Holder and Courageous Comet (43.7) are now in fourth, followed by Stephen Bradley on From (43.9) and Donna Smith on Call Me Clifton (45.6). British riders Leslie Law on Shear L’Eau and Polly Stockton on Tom Quigley are tied for seventh (48.2).
Both Bruce Davidson’s Little Tricky, who scored 74.4 in dressage yesterday, and Cathy Wieschhoff’s Ocotillo, who was held for re-inspection in the soundness jog but then passed, have been withdrawn from the competition. Ocotillo did not do dressage.
Standing in 41st place is Sarah Mittleider on El Primero, the only Young Rider competing this weekend. She is the talk of the event after a dramatic several months preparing for Rolex. The Idaho native was headed to Florida for the winter with her father and they were involved in a highway driving accident in which a sudden stop because of traffic resulting in them hitting a tractor-trailer truck, while another big truck ploughed into the back of their horse trailer, which had three horses in it, including El Primero. Miraculously the horses survived with only minor injuries and she was able to continue in her preparations, with much generous assistance from the eventing community.
The stands started filling up by early afternoon with a strong turnout for dressage day and the Rolex crowd knows its dressage. A horse swapping its leads when it should counter-canter brought a collective gasp, while an appreciative sound filled the stadium when an extension was particularly bold and marked with suspension. They also cheered for their favorite horses and riders as they entered and left the stadium. Ralph Hill and Bad Boy Billy had a somewhat inconsistent test with results lower than he might have liked but you wouldn’t know it when Hill left the arena, playing to the crowd in his typical style, grinning and waving his hat to the delight of the cheering spectators.
Today was another sunny day in Lexington, defying previous reports that Rolex patrons would have to endure the rainy weather typical of April in Kentucky. But eventing fans know to be prepared. Spectator Tina Matthews, who drove seven and a half hours from Raleigh, NC to watch the event with her friend Kelly Fochtmann-Lange, said that they packed flip-flops and shorts, rain gear and warm sweaters. “We’ve got it down to a science,” she laughed.
Spectators have enjoyed a number of sponsored course walks led by top riders including Cathy Wieschhoff and Amy Tryon. Big crowds have been seen following the leader around the course all day, learning insider tips on riding as well as scoping out the best places to view tomorrow’s cross-country action.
PhelpsSports.Com Is Coming In August!!
Look for the debut of PhelpsSports.com in late August. PhelpsSports.com, a new and highly innovative subscription equestrian sports website, will offer equestrians and fans of equestrian sports from around the world, a single web address for the latest breaking news of the Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Eventing and other High Performance disciplines. The website will include up to the minute audio reports, live video interviews and unique features from around the globe, photography, and the creative writing and reporting of some of the finest equestrian journalists in the world.