With a small field of just 14 horses at the Adelaide CCI4* in Australia, the competition proved stiff to take the top spot on the leaderboard after dressage, but Megan Jones and the 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Kirby Park Allofasudden pulled it off to take a handy lead with a score of 51.5.
This horse, known in the barn as Floyd, was Megan Jones’ original Olympic mount in 2012, but he was withdrawn due to a minor foot injury that kept him sidelined from representing Australia. “(This time) last year his foot still wasn’t quite right,” Megan said in a press release. “We have had a long, slow preparation and it’s helped so much on the flat. It’s really taken a long time and lots of schooling.”
This is Floyd’s fifth CCI4* appearance and third time competing in the CCI4* at Adelaide; he was sixth here in 2011, his last time at this event, with just a few time penalties on cross country, so expect this pair to remain right in the mix, if not still atop the board, after cross country, which will run later on tonight, U.S. time.
The atmosphere in the dressage phase seemed to get to many horses and riders, as many of them had traveled from more rural parts of the country and therefore were not used to the heightened atmosphere. “It’s hard to prepare for an atmosphere like this; I know after today a lot of West Australians will be looking for a rent-a-crowd to practice with,” Belinda Ibister said.
Belinda and Holy Bruce are making their CCI4* debut and are sitting in second place after dressage with a score of 56.8. This pair typically scores in the high 40s or low 50s in FEI competition, so the atmosphere may well have contributed to a slightly higher mark than usual, but Belinda was still pleased with her positioning in her first four-star.
Believe it or not, there is just one male rider competing this weekend, and he’s currently holding third place on a score of 58. Seumas Marwood and Wild Oats attempted both Luhmühlen and Badminton this year, retiring on cross country both times.
This is the pair’s third time competing at Adeliade, where they were sixth last year and retired in 2011. Their dressage score is right about on par with their usual marks at this level, so their biggest test will be putting everything together on cross country.
Cross country will begin at 9:50 p.m. EST tonight and will be broadcast live on FEI TV. Night owls, unite! If you missed our cross country course preview yesterday, be sure to check it out here. The course looks lovely, and we’re excited to see how it rides for these 14 combinations.