Lexington, Ky – Oct. 16, 2020 – An overnight temperature drop led to beautiful cross-country weather for the competitors in the Hagyard Mid-South Three Day Event CCI3*-L Friday morning. The fog over the gorgeous grounds at the Kentucky Horse Park lifted just in time for the first rider to gallop out of the start box at 9:30. Following dressage competition on Thursday, the scores were tight, leaving for little room for error across Jay Hambly’s (CAN) track.
Dressage opened up the CCI3*-L format on Thursday morning, with 21 competitors trotting down the centerline. Liz Halliday-Sharp (USA) and Cooley Be Cool were the first duo to debut in front of the judges and dazzled, landing on a score of 32.9. Halliday-Sharp would later beat her own score on her second mount in the class, Cooley Stormwater, with marks tallying up to a 31.7 score. Her effort with Cooley Stormwater would give her the overnight lead going into the second phase of the weekend. Securing second after dressage was Buck Davidson (USA) and Victor B Z on a score of 31.8, with Boyd Martin (USA) and Fernhill Prezley rounding out the top three on an extremely close score of 31.9.
Direct sunlight causing some lighting issues on Friday morning led to the combination 6ABC being adjusted prior to the first horse and rider pair leaving the startbox. With 22 elements to face, the optimum time was set at 7 minutes and 43 seconds. Horses were raring and ready to go thanks to the brisk weather in Lexington, allowing many pairs to speed around the track with no time penalties. Only one rider retired on course, leaving 20 pairs in the running.
Setting the stage as the first on course was Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Be Cool, who sat in fifth following dressage. The duo made easy work of the tricky s-bend over the three brush jumps in and around the Land Rover Water complex. Only a few jump penalties were passed out throughout the day, with an unfortunate glance off at the corner at 17C, causing Martin and Fernhill Prezley to round back and represent, dropping them from third to 17th.
Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Stormwater galloped fiercely around the grounds, sailing over each obstacle with ease, but the addition of 0.4 time penalties opened up the door for Davidson and Victor B Z to snag the pole position. Following shortly after Halliday-Sharp, Davidson and beautiful bay gelding made tidy work of Hambly’s questions and closed out the day with no time penalties and at the top of the leaderboard. Halliday-Sharp sat in second and third with Cooley Stormwater and Cooley Be Cool, respectively.
CCI3*-L showjumping kicks off Saturday morning in the Claiborne Ring, starting at 11:15 AM.