Olympian Shane Rose tops the leaderboard in first and second after a thrilling day of cross country action at the 2015 Australian International Three Day Event.
The Beijing silver medallist flew over the last Qantas jump to the finish line on a time of 11.08 on CP Qualified, adding just 3.2 time penalties to his overnight dressage score, bringing their total after the cross country to 45.30 penalties.
Rose’s second horse Virgil was seventh after the Dressage phase but now occupies second position after he was the only horse to complete the cross country course without incurring any jumping or time penalties. He will carry 50.80 penalties into Sunday’s Showjumping decider.
It is the first time that Virgil has competed at CCI4* level and Rose said he took it all in his stride. “Virgil’s been ready for (this level for) a while, he’s a super horse, an amazing jumping machine.
“He could win medals as a Showjumping horse probably. He has a great gallop and today he was up on his time the whole way around,” he said.
Rose says he still has some work to do, but is confident that both horses have the ability to go all the way. “With CP Qualified, I just need to touch up on a few things, I need to get my preparation for the (dressage) test a bit better. Virgil just needs time to get stronger, he’s a big lump of a horse with super power. I’ve got two exceptional horses so I’m very privileged. There’s a lot that could go wrong between now and tomorrow and then in the next nine months leading into Rio but so far everything is on track so we just need to make sure we keep going that way,” he said.
New Zealand rider Clarke Johnstone and Balmoral Sensation are in third position after he also produced a strong cross country round which picked up just four time penalties for a total score of 54.10. Katja Weimann and BP Flamboyant, who were second after the Dressage phase remain in contention but have moved to fifth position after picking up 11.2 time penalties for a total score of 60.30.
Olympic silver medallist Sonja Johnson and Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison were the big movers of the day, moving from 15th to 4th position after collecting just 1.2 time penalties for a total of 59.40.
Britain’s Alice Dunsdon produced a clear round over Mike Etherington Smith’s course with Fernhill Present, despite earlier being admitted to hospital before the start of the cross country. However, they picked up 39.6 time penalties and lie in 19th place. Alice is seeking to be the first rider to complete all six CCI**** competitions, with Adelaide being the fifth event in her quest.
The cross country course caused very few problems with only five combinations not completing, and three picking up jumping penalties.
Sarah Carless Reporter at Large