Starting at the very top of the Rolex entry list, we have Laine Ashker with Anthony Patch. Laine rides out of central VA, and our fun fact about Laine is that she can speak both Spanish and Arabic. Anthony Patch, a 16hh TB gelding, brings a strong jumping resume to his first 4*, with only 20 XC penalties and 16 SJ faults in 10 advanced or higher events since the end of 2008. Anthony Patch has never won an advanced level event, and I’m not expecting him to break his maiden at Rolex, but his record shows that he’s ready to deliver a strong weekend performance.
Our fun fact about Kyle is that he is a loving father. I have liked Madison Park (16.2 Bay Gelding) from the first time I saw Kyle riding him in Florida a few years ago. Since then, Madison Park has become an international veteran, competing at the Pan Ams, Rolex (twice), the Olympics, and Burghley. While Kyle got around the first three of those without any XC penalties, he collected a stop last year at Rolex and was eliminated at Burghley, but those are the only issues in the last 10 advanced competitions for Kyle and Madison Park. Madison Park has a lot of talent, but sometimes struggles with putting together three great phases in a row, and his dressage and show jumping often leaves me wishing for more polish. If he does put all three phases together, look out.
I must confess that before I started looking at the Rolex entries I knew absolutely nothing about Geoff Curran. That said, I’ve pieced a few things together. Our fun fact about Geoff is that his favorite band is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Geoff earned his title of ‘Captain’ while serving in the Irish Defense Forces for 9 years. Geoff is 30 years old, and has considerable experience, having represented Ireland at both the 2006 WEGs and the 2008 Olympics. Geoff and The Jump Jet (16.2 Irish Sport Horse G) finished 18th at the Pau CCI4* in 2009. Not sure what to expect from this pair, but from reading about Geoff, he seems like a hard worker and a likable guy.
Wow, so many places to go with the fun fact…I guess lets go with pointing out that Boyd purchased two 4-star horses in a package deal at a bar for less than $7,500. Actually, lets get this out of the way right now: it’s sometimes hard for me to judge the perception of the general eventing public, but if you don’t think of Boyd as one of the best riders in the US who is going to be a perennial 4* and USET contender, if for no other reason than he gets horses around the XC, then you should probably start. Neville Bardos, last year’s Fair Hill CCI3* champion, takes the stage at Kentucky as a savvy, veteran horse. Neville has show jumping penalties in 6 of his last 8 events, and is not a flashy mover, but expect a clean and fast XC round to put the pair in contention come Sunday.
You man not think black and pink are a good color combination, but you will get to see them Saturday at Rolex when Tasman Sea (16hh NZL TB G) leaves the box. I don’t know Chelan personally, but I hear good things and her blog entries always have a lot of personality. I don’t expect the Chelan and Tasman to be in contention on Sunday, but I’ll be rooting for them.
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