Gemma Stevens Flashes into Millstreet Cross-Country Lead

Gemma Stevens and Flash Cooley lead the way after Cross Country in the Noel C. Duggan Engineering Ltd sponsored CCI4*-L. Photo by Bit-Media.

Cross-country time proved influential during a great day’s sport in glorious sunshine at the Millstreet International Horse Trials in County Cork and the Noel C. Duggan Engineering CCI4*-L now has a new leader in Gemma Stevens and Pru Dawes’ Flash Cooley.

The British pair flew around Mike Etherington-Smith’s superb course to finish only five seconds over the optimum time of 10 minutes 11 seconds, one of only five combinations to have time penalties in single figures.

The 11-year-old Flash Cooley, an Irish Sport Horse bred by Jim O’ Neill by CSF Mr Kroon out of an OBOS Quality mare, was third in the CCI4*-S at Millstreet last August and has been competing in jumping classes, which may come in handy as Gemma does not have a fence in hand in tomorrow’s final phase.

Piggy March is still in second place on Coolparks Sarco, but her dressage leader, the stallion Halo, triggered a frangible safety pin at fence 5, rails into water, and incurred 11 penalties. However, they are still in sixth place after a fine round.

Muzi Pottinger from New Zealand was the fastest of the section, just two seconds over time, and is now in fourth place on the aptly named Good Timing, flanked by two Japanese riders, Kazumo Tomoto (Vinci de la Vigne JRA) and Toshiyuki Tanaka (Swiper JRA) in third and fifth places respectively.

Tomorrow’s show jumping phase for the all-important CCIO3*-L, in which four nations are chasing two places at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024, is shaping up to be a tense affair.

The Australians, who fielded their big guns in the form of their Tokyo medallists Andrew Hoy, Kevin McNab and Shane Rose, have established a clear lead with their riders in first, third, fifth and seventh places; Shenae Lowings and and her brilliant galloping thoroughbred Bold Venture are still in the individual lead.

However, China has moved from fourth to second place with three clear rounds and is now a mere 6.9 penalties ahead of Japan in a contest which looks to run right to the wire.

There is little change to the leaderboard in the Nations Cup CCIO4*-S, presented by Connolly’s Red Mills, after the show jumping phase. New Zealand still leads the Netherlands and series leaders Belgium before the cross-country phase, while Great Britain has moved up to fourth ahead of Spain and Italy and Ireland has dropped to seventh.

Kiwi team member and world number one Tim Price holds the individual lead on Falco after the dressage leader Kevin McNab (Willunga) had the misfortune to take the wrong course and get eliminated.

The Eventing Ireland CCI2*-L saw a second victory this weekend for New Zealand’s Samantha Lissington, riding Quantas R, while Ireland’s Ted O’ Leary won the CCIJ2*-L on Master Swatch.

Tomorrow’s cross-country will start an hour later, at 9am, due to the potential for a foggy early morning.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments