King & Queen of Kentucky: Jung and Rocana Take Third Straight Crown

Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Michael Jung could afford one rail aboard fischerRocana FST in today’s show jumping finale at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event to still take the win, and when they knocked a pole at the middle element of the triple combination, the entire stadium gave a collective gasp.

But, in typical Terminator form, Michael and Rocana, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse (Ituango xx X Rose II) owned by Joachim and Brigitte Jung, cleared the final two jumps on course with room to spare and clinched a third consecutive win at Rolex with a final score of 42.7. Kim Severson and Winsome Adante also won Rolex three times, though their wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005 were not consecutive. As always, Michael is in a league of his own.

Maxime Livio and Qalao des Mers. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Maxime Livio and Qalao des Mers, a 13-year-old Selle Francais owned by the Livio family, have now finished on their dressage score three times at the CCI4* level, never placing lower than second. Their clear round inside the time allowed of 93 seconds was one of just four today, keeping them in second place to finish on 44.6.

Zara Tindall and Trevor Hemmings’ High Kingdom, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Master Imp X High Dolly) bred by William Micklem, also jumped clear and inside the time to finish in third place on their dressage score of 44.6. That’s his best placing at four-star level since Luhmühlen in 2013, where he finished second.

Zara Tindall and High Kingdom. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

From there the placings on the leaderboard shuffled quite a bit, with rails and time penalties on Richard Jeffery’s course proving costly; 85% of the 39 remaining competitors had at least one rails, with 56% incurring at least 1 time penalty.

Phillip Dutton and the Mr. Medicott Syndicate’s Mr. Medicott had the entire stadium jumping up and down when they jumped clear with 1 time penalty, which ultimately boosted them from sixth to fourth place to finish on 54.6 as the highest-placed U.S. combination.

Phillip Dutton and Mr Medicott. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

This is the fifth time Phillip has taken the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship. To take the title on Mr. Medicott, who came back from a tendon injury sustained here at Rolex in 2014 to perform superbly this weekend at 18 years old, makes it that much sweeter.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection had one rail down to finish fifth on 54.8 as the USEF Reserve National Champions in the mare’s four-star debut. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who followed along with EN’s team picks, where we highlighted the 13-year-old Holsteiner (Contender X Naomagic I) as a spoiler alert.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Matt Brown and Blossom Creek Foundation’s Super Socks BCF, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse by Castle Quest, had one rail down and 5 time penalties to drop from fourth place after cross country to finish in sixth place on 56.8.

Boyd Martin and Lucy Boynton Lie’s Crackerjack, a New Zealand Sport Horse/Thoroughbred (Aberjack X Santa’s Slave), had one rail down and moved up three spots on the leaderboard to finish in seventh on 61.4. That’s the second top-10 placing at a CCI4* in Crackerjack’s career (and a big jump up from his first CCI4* at Rolex in 2015, when he finished 25th).

Phillip Dutton proved once again he is the cornerstone of Team USA, finishing all three of his horses in the top 10. Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Lux X Barnadown Rambo), had two rails down and 1 time penalty to finish seventh on 61.4. Four-star rookie I’m Sew Ready, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by John and Kristine Norton, also had two rails and 1 time penalty to finish 10th on 69.1.

Kurt Martin and Delux Z. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Kurt Martin and Delux Z, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Lux X Drumin Imp) owned by Bill and CJ Martin, jumped clear and inside the time to finish on 68.3 for ninth place, a big jump up from their 25th place finish last year in their four-star debut. To make it even better, today is Kurt’s birthday. Happy birthday, Kurt!

Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing’s Pfun were the only other pair in the field to jump clear and inside the time to finish 25th in the horse’s first four-star. In addition to Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott, one other combination jumped clear with time penalties, Jen McFall and the High Times Syndicate’ High Times, to finish 24th on 94.7.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Looking to the rest of the leaderboard, Selena O’Hanlon and John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High finished in 11th on 70.6 as the highest-placed Canadian combination, followed closely by Hawley Bennett-Awad and her own Jollybo in 12th on 77.2.

Lillian Heard finished two rides inside the top 15. LCC Barnaby and Share Option, both owned by Lillian, each had one rail down to finish in 13th and 15th on 78.3 and 80.0, respectively. Erin Sylvester and Spike and Jeanne Sylvester’s Mettraise, who won the Land Rover Ride of the Day yesterday for finishing on the optimum time, finished 14th on 79.9, jumping up 37 places after dressage.

Madeline Backus and P.S. Arianna. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Madeline Backus and her own P.S. Arianna completed with one rail down and 9 time penalties to finish in 20th as the highest-placed Rolex Rookies. These two have essentially grown up together and have one of those heartwarming stories that makes completing your first Rolex that much more special.

We are in awe of a lot of things at the conclusion of Rolex — Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST’s historic three-peat, Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott taking the USEF National Championship despite the fact that the horse had only completed two horse trials in the last three years, and Maxime Livio and Qalao des Mers’ streak of finishing on their dressage scores at four-stars.

Here’s a rapid-fire roundup of the final results:

  • There were four clear show jumping rounds with no time penalties: Maxime Livio and Qalao Des Mers, Zara Tindall and High Kingdom, Kurt Martin and Delux Z, and Will Faudree and Pfun. Maxime and Zara were the only riders to finish on their dressage scores.
  • Of the 39 pairs that started show jumping, there were six no-rail, 16 one-rail, seven two-rail, two three-rail, five four-rail and three five-rail rounds. Seventeen horses finished inside the time.
  • Phillip Dutton finished three horses in the top 10: Mr. Medicott (4th), Fernhill Fugitive (8th) and I’m Sew Ready (10th).
  • Erin Sylvester and Mettraise made the biggest jump up the scoreboard, moving up 37 places from 51st after dressage to 14th overall. Other notables: Holly Payne Caravella and Never OutFoxed moved up 36 places from 58th after dressage to 19th overall, and Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me moved from 52nd after dressage to 18th overall.
  • Of 59 starters, 39 (66%) completed the event. In 2016 there were 58 completions of 72 starters (81%).
  • Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST’s 2017 finishing score, 42.7, is the highest of their three Rolex wins: 39.2 in 2016 and 39.3 in 2015.

There will be plenty to digest as we unpack the events of the weekend. For now, we have to send a HUGE thank you to all of you who followed along with our coverage this weekend. Stay tuned for much more. Go Eventing.

#RK3DE Links: Website, Final Scores, EN’s Coverage, EN’s Ultimate Guide to Rolex, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

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