AMERICANS TAKE THE LEAD AS JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIP GETS UNDERWAY by Louise Parkes
Lexington, 4 October – The host nation took a firm grip on both the team and individual leaderboards as the Jumping Championship got underway at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA today. Mario Deslauriers steered the powerful gelding Urico into pole position in the exciting Speed event, which is both the first individual qualifier and the class that decides the rankings for tomorrow’s team competition. And he had the best back-up around in the shape of fellow-American McLain Ward who steered the great mare Sapphire home just a little slower to slot into runner-up spot.
As expected, the US riders, who are strongly tipped for medals this week, came out with all guns blazing. But there were plenty of surprises throughout the day and the biggest of these was the spectacular performance of Hungary’s Sandor Szasz who slotted into third place. Riding Moosbachhofs Goldwing the relatively unknown 39 year old stormed into the lead with a clear round in 71.79 seconds as the first half of the competition was coming to a close. But, with just four left to run before the lunch-break, Deslauriers and Urico raced through the timers in 71.25 seconds to re-set the target.