Easy as ABC (& Sometimes D): Derek di Grazia Talks Us Through LRK3DE 5* Combinations

Photos by Leslie Wylie.

Welcome to the 2021 LRK3De cross country course! Your cruise director is Derek di Grazia, who has once again designed a first-class five-star track that will put Saturday’s field to the test.

CrossCountry App has posted a 5* virtual course walk led by Derek alongside 1998 Rolex Trophy winner Nick Larkin. We thank them for showing us all around the course, as well as Rob Burk for the photos.

To set the scene: Optimum time is 11 minutes on the nose, speed is 570 meters per minute, and the official length is 6270 meters. Also, it’s likely to be raining. You can check out the full course here. Below, Derek walks us through seven of the course’s 10 combinations — click through to see photos and video.

#4ABCD – MARS Sustainability Bay

“Before they got to this point they had to jump three fences, all very straightforward, which has given them a good warm-up. Once they get here they will drop in over a brush drop into water; once in the water they will go over a very steep mound with a cabin on the top. There is an alternative here for the drop in if they have problems jumping in, as well as there is an alternative for the cabin on top.”

#9ABC – Normandy Bank

“The Normandy Bank is being done in a different way this year. They’ll come up a steep slope with a cabin at the top; immediately on landing they’re making a right turn and jumping a chevron brush. There is a longer alternative. Most will plan on taking the direct way, however, you never know what is going to happen on landing. If they land and the horse is not in control they can go the alternate way.”

#11AB & #12ABC – Land Rover Head of the Lake

“The big jump in over the log will get them into the water. The riders will have to maintain their position to jump the stump which will come immediately upon landing in the water, then they’ll carry on out of the water, jump a big double brush back into the water, and then up a new part of the Lake which we haven’t used before that we made for this year, followed by a double brush. So a lot of jumps, big jumps, and they’ll have to be ready. There is an option if they land in a heap and are not ready for the direct way, then they’ll pull out and do the alternate route.”

#14ABC – Goose Bumps

“This combination encompasses quite a few things. One, they have quite a large oxer jumping into the combination then they come up the mound and have to jump this goose at a very specific angle which will then bring them to a right handed corner on the way out. The way the horses react to the change in terrain will obviously affect their length of stride, and the riders are going to have to be able to pick up on this as they ride into the combination and then carry on throughout the combination.”

#24ABCD – Park Question

“This is an interesting part of the course because it’s just past nine minutes. They’ve done a lot of jumping by this point and the riders really have to know what they have underneath them so when you come here you have to make sure your horse is still jumping. They will jump in over a set of rails which is immediately followed by a ditch at the bottom of the slope, over the ditch, and then immediately they will have a narrow fence only a stride away. It’s going to come up quick, they’re going to have to make sure that not only the rider themself is concentrating and paying attention, but that their horse has still got enough in the tank to be able to take care of this question.”

#26ABC – Mighty Moguls

“They’ve been quite a ways up to this point — we’re just past the 10-minute mark. They will have a big log jumping into this combination followed by another big log and then down the slope to another brush corner. They will have an alternate brush corner in case they want to take a longer route. It will be the last combination on course and they’re all going to be looking to get through here fault free. … there’s a lot of terrain and the riders will have to keep enough to keep jumping at the end.”

Here’s the CCI4*-S course, too. Thanks again for sharing, CrossCountry App, and for the beautiful photos, Rob!

Cross country runs Saturday beginning with the CCI5* division, followed by the CCI4*-S.

#LRK3DE21: WebsiteEN’s Ultimate Form Guide5* Entries4* EntriesScheduleNorth America Live StreamWorldwide Live StreamEN’s CoverageEN’s InstagramEN’s Twitter

For the DL on every 5* horse/rider combination, be sure to download our Ultimate Guide!