Hold onto your hats, EN — the Germans are coming to Rolex! We reported last month that both Andreas Dibowski and Michael Jung were planning to head for Rolex, and we finally have confirmation. Michael Jung will be bringing the big guns, 2014 WEG individual silver medalist fischerRocana FST and 2010 WEG and 2012 London gold individual medalist La Biosthetique Sam.
Both Rocana and Sam are coming off of very good performances in the first leg of the FEI Nations Cup at Fontainebleau. Sam made a triumphant return to FEI competition after withdrawing from the German WEG squad last year with a win in the CICO3*, while stablemate Rocana picked up a seventh place finish.
Andreas Dibowski has entered FRH Butts Avedon at Rolex, who finished second at Pau last year and has completed Luhmühlen twice. The 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding was also second in the CCI2* championship for 7-year-olds at Le Lion d’Angers with Andreas in the irons. Andreas has competed Butts Avedon in FEI competitions since 2009, producing him from the CIC* level, so this is a very experienced partnership.
This will be the first time in five years we’ll see a German rider at Rolex; Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo finished second in 2009 as the last German combination to compete at the event.
Jennie Brannigan and Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse, are also now entered. Jennie and “Ping” were sadly eliminated last year after missing a flag on cross country, though they completed the entire course in grand fashion. We’ll be sending all the EN karma to this pair as they look to complete their first CCI4*, and they’re coming hot off a third place finish in the CIC3* at Red Hills.
Hallie Coon is one of the new Rolex Rookies on the list, appearing with her 15-year-old KWPN gelding, Namaste. These two completed the CCI3* at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International last fall and this year placed eighth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse in February. They completed the dressage and show jumping of the CIC3* at Carolina International before withdrawing, and they’re also entered in the CIC3* at The Fork as their final prep.
Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star will be heading to Kentucky for the first CCI4*. Who’s A Star is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse/NZ Thoroughbred owned by Courtney Cooper and Neal Camens who picked up a seventh place finish in the CCI3* at Fair Hill last year. Most recently, this pair finished fourth in the Advanced at Carolina International, and they’ll also contest the Advanced at The Fork, the hot spot for Rolex hopefuls each year.
The ever popular Andromaque is on the list to make her return to Kentucky this year with Will Faudree in the irons. Owned by Jennifer Mosing, the 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred mare had several months off from competition between 2013 and 2014, beginning a comeback tour this year that has most recently included a third place performance in the CIC3* at Carolina International this past weekend. The mare will be making her third CCI4* start; she placed 16th in her first Rolex attempt in 2011.
In yet another addition to a very exciting list, Gina Miles is making her return to Rolex. Gina last competed at the CCI4* level with McKinlaigh, who was her silver medal partner in the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong. Now, she’s bringing the S.V.R. Ron Syndicate LLC’s S.V.R. Ron; she acquired the ride after the 15-year-old gelding represented Uruguay in the 2011 Pan American Games. They finished 13th in the CCI3* at Galway last year and are entered in the CIC3* at Galway this coming weekend.
Ireland is also now represented on the entry list with Austin O’Connor and Balham Houdini. Austin last came to Kentucky in 2013 with Ringwood Mississippi, with whom he finished 13th. Now he’s brining Balham Houdini, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse, for his first CCI4* attempt. This pair also contested the CICO3* at Fontainebleau this past weekend, finishing in 20th place.
Crowd favorites Meghan O’Donoghue and her speedy little OTTB, Pirate, will be making their third start in Kentucky and fourth CCI4* start together. Meghan and Pirate, who is 13 this year, have finished in the top 15 and top 20 in their first two years competing in Kentucky and are rapidly becoming a staple to see galloping across country the last weekend in April. These two finished 11th in the Advanced at Carolina International last weekend and are entered in the CIC3* at The Fork for their final prep.
Jessie Phoenix is bringing two horses to Kentucky this year: A Little Romance and Pavarotti. Owned by Don Leschied, A Little Romance is a 10-year-old mare who will be stepping up to the CCI4* level in Kentucky. This lovely mare won the CCI3* at Bromont last year and will contest the CIC3* at The Fork before heading to Kentucky.
Pavarotti, owned by Don Good, is the more experienced of Jessie’s rides, having represented Canada on the 2014 WEG squad. Pavarotti, a 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, also won individual gold at the 2011 Pan American Games with Jessie, and aside from doing just the dressage in 2014, this will be his first proper Rolex start.
Katie Ruppel and her 11-year-old OTTB gelding, Houdini, will be making their second start in Kentucky together after completing last year. Katie is entered in the Advanced at The Fork with Houdini, who she has said is feeling great for Kentucky, as their final prep run.
Making their third trip to Rolex this year are Caitlin Silliman and Catch a Star, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare. Caitlin and “Hoku” have been together since 2011 and finished 24th in their first CCI4* in 2013. So far this year they’ve placed second in the Advanced at Carolina and will carry on to the CIC3* at The Fork next.
Cody Sturgess and Imperial Melody, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, are also Rolex Rookies this year. Representing Canada, this pair finished 11th in their first CCI3* at Bromont last year and most recently finished seventh in the Advanced at Red Hills. We’ll be profiling each Rookie rider individually just like we did last year, so stay tuned for more on Cody!
Our final new addition today is Sharon White and Wundermaske, who is making his third CCI4* start. Sharon and “Patch,” owned by Sharon White and Richard Weber, finished 19th at Pau last year while representing the U.S. and also finished 23rd in his first Rolex last April. The 12-year-old Hanoverian/Thoroughbred gelding most recently placed second in the Advanced at Carolina International and will travel to The Fork on his way to Kentucky for the CIC3*.
In some disappointing news, we’ve just learned from Phillip Dutton that Mr. Medicott will not be making his return to Kentucky this year. After finishing eighth in the CIC2* at Carolina International, Phillip and his team have decided to err on the side of caution and give “Cave” some more time to be ready to return to the top levels. You can read Phillip’s statement on his Facebook page here.
Entries close on Thursday, so keep an eye out for the final entries as they make their way in. What a fantastic list this is turning out to be. See you in Kentucky!