Temecula, Ca. – Oct. 30, 2020 – Eventing fans tuned in via live stream from all over the world yesterday to watch the exciting cross-country action at Galway Downs. Course designer and international event rider Clayton Fredericks (AUS) had quite the daunting task set before him when he began working with the team in Temecula, California, this summer: make the cross-country tracks more challenging. There were shake-ups all over the board, but Boyd Martin (USA) kept his cool with Luke 140 to hold onto the lead going into Saturday’s final phase of the weekend’s CCI4*-L event.
Coming in just fractions of a second over the 10-minute optimal time, Martin and Luke 140’s new score of 29.80 would hold strong in the lead position following their ride across Frederick’s track. Time was a challenge all afternoon long in the CCI4*-L position, but several riders saw issues at one of the several challenging obstacles or questions on the track, which led to some movement on the leaderboard. Tamie Smith (USA) and Passepartout were the only duo to deliver a round clear of time and jump faults in the CCI4*-L division, which allowed them to slip into second place after Phillip Dutton (USA) and Fernhill Singapore received an unfortunate 15 point addition for missed flag penalties at the 16AB water complex, dropping him to seventh place.
With time of the essence, Martin was able to move up into third aboard Long Island T after producing a clear round across the track with just 1.20 penalties added for time. Ten of the eleven entries would add time to their score at the end of the day, with five of those riders also adding other penalties to their score. Dutton, Smith and Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) all received 15 point penalties for missed flags at the 16AB water complex. An initial additional 20 point penalty was later removed from Halliday-Sharp’s score after review by the ground jury determined that she had not re-addressed the fence.
Fredericks, the course designer, commented: “As the new course designer coming into a new venue, obviously the last thing you want to do is obliterate the whole field. We had an agreement that the course needed to be stronger and the time needed to be harder. I think we achieved that. [Combination 16AB into the water] was a fairly tight line, and I think some people tried to bend it more than was ideal, so [the flags] became an issue of the left shoulder popping out.”
Speaking to the difficulty of the course, Martin shared: “The course rode a lot harder than I thought it would. Even on my more seasoned horse [Long Island T], there were angles on the corners that were very demanding. [Luke 140] has amazing fight in his DNA. If he sees a jump and the red and white flags, he does anything he needs to do to get himself through them. He showed me that he is a big time horse today: that he is a tough, resilient mongrel. There were a lot of technically demanding fences, places where we only had a stride to see the narrow or the corner, and I was really impressed with his attitude.”
With a demanding day out of the way, the eleven riders have show jumping to face on Saturday afternoon. CCI4*-L show jumping will begin at 2:15 pm PST on Saturday. Live streaming of the event is available through Ride On Video all weekend long.