The Rebecca Farm CCI4*-L course was no match for the partnership of Lauren Billys and Castle Larchfield Purdy. A faultless round completed one second inside the time means they’re one step closer to a crucial qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After dressage, Lauren remarked that the course was quintessentially “Ian.” Rider frighteners abound, you were in trouble if you had a horse with water issues, but “Purdy,” a 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Karistos x Hallo Purdy, Hallo) owned by the Purdy Syndicate, was in point-and-shoot mode to remain on his dressage score of 31.
“I walked this morning, and I had an incredible sense of peace. I think it’s because I get to ride Purdy,” Lauren said. “Derek (di Grazia, Lauren’s coach) and I had a very firm plan on where we wanted to be because we felt the time was the thing to catch today. Purdy is not a particularly fast horse, but we knew where to be up and he was there. All the lines jumped exactly how Derek described they would jump. Even if I made a mistake, it was exactly the same mistake he said it would be.”
Derek’s plan came to fruition in the best way–giving Lauren and Purdy their first completion inside the time at any four-star, long or short.
“He showed a lot of heart. I started to cry when I was on course, and I was like, “get it together!” Because it was so exhilarating,” she said.
One pesky second added 0.4 time penalties to Jennie Brannigan’s result, but it’s still good enough to hold second place with Stella Artois, an 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate.
Trailblazer Clark Montgomery had Thoroughbred power on his side with the ex-racehorse Caribbean Soul. Home inside the time, he and the Caribbean Soul Syndicate’s 12-year-old (Cimarron Secret x Ogygian’s Desire, by Ogygian) continue with their dressage score of 39.2 for third place.
James Alliston and the “Barbie Dream Pony” Pandora sit fourth after motoring to the fastest round in the division. They’re on a two-phase score of 39.8. Kim Liddell and Eye of The Storm had 3.6 time penalties for fifth place on a score of 42.4.
Liza Horan piloted Lafite to sixth place (53.3) with 8.8 time penalties added. After missing a flag a fence 7b, a brush corner, Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 added 15 penalties for seventh place on a 55.1.
Both Rebecca Hoos/Little Cruz and Leah Breakey/Master Class retired after two stops. Rebecca had issue with 5b and 7b, where Leah came to grief at both 16a and 17a.
Sabrina Glaser and Rembrandt took over the CCI4*-S. For this duo, the goal was overcoming a water issue that the 11-year-old Thoroughbred (Galouet x Last Rose of Summer, by Travelling Victor) picked up when Lauren popped off a Bromont earlier this summer.
“He really had his confidence shaken from that, so I didn’t know what was going happen. We had lots of runs through the water (on course), so our day was either going to end early or finish better than it started. He actually didn’t show any hesitation at all – went out there like a trooper,” she said.
They added 3.2 time penalties for a score of 39.9.