Equestrian: New Zealand's chances plummet in Lexington

By David Leggat

Tim Price and Bango compete in the Cross Country Test for the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Price and Bango compete in the Cross Country Test for the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand's chances of victory at the Kentucky four star eventing trial nosedived on a gruelling cross country day in Lexington today.

Torrential rain made life difficult for the riders and no one got around the course inside the allotted time.

German Michael Jung retained the lead he established during the opening dressage phase and can afford to drop three rails on Fischerrocana FST and still win the title on the final showjumping leg.

Jung incurred 0.8 time penalties to sit on 35.2 points, 12.3 ahead of American Phillip Dutton, who lies second and third on Fernhill Fugitive and Mighty Nice respectively.
Mark Todd is New Zealand's best-placed rider, sitting 12th on NZB Campino, after the two-time Olympic champion picked up 13.2 time penalties to be on 56.4.

Jock Paget is also in the top 15, after 9.6 time penalties aboard Clifton Signature has him on 57.1 and in 15th spot.

American riders dominate the leaderboard, with 12 of the top 15, excluding Jung, Todd and Paget, wearing the stars and stripes.

Tim Price and Bango were eliminated just before the end of the cross country while former world and Olympic champion Blyth Tait on Xanthus III and Joe Meyer on Clip Clop are 50th and 51st on 108.5 and 118.6 respectively.

Paget was very pleased with Clifton Signature's efforts.

''I had a ball on my horse," he said. ''We found it a little hard work with all the hills and the twisting and turning. He's quite a big horse."

Paget began intending to chase the time, but stopped watching the clock late in the ride as Signature tired.

"He has a great mind, a big heart and he just kept trying. I wanted him to finish as nicely as possible.

''I would like to have him there for the Olympics so the priority was that he had a nice experience," Paget said.

- NZ Herald

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