Sinead Halpin and Manoir De Carneville (StockImageServices.com)
Norwood, N.C. – Sinead Halpin and Manoir De Carneville proved to have perfect timing in their win of The Fork International CIC*** and Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series.
The home-turf favorites finished in a tie with Marilyn Little and RF Demeter after the cross country phase of the competition, both with a score of 49.8, but Halpin hit the optimum time of six minutes and nineteen seconds on the dot, winning the tie breaker and the CIC*** division.
Asked how she managed to hit the time perfectly, Halpin joked about planning and preparation but admitted, “You just go as fast as you can. I was happy that Brian [O’Connor] announced that I was on time; I actually couldn’t remember if I had set my watch 5 or 10 seconds early.”
Halpin and her own Selle Francais gelding, “Tate,” have set themselves up nicely for Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in two weeks.
“Tate came off of the course as good as he ever,” Halpin of Oldwick, N.J. said. “His temperature dropped right down to 101 degrees. I am really happy with his run today.”
Time was not on the side of a majority of the competitors in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series CIC*** division. With the top twenty-three riders within ten points of each other coming into Sunday’s cross-country phase, the leaderboard was tight and riders knew they would have to run and jump fast and clear. Only three out of thirty-seven riders were able to make the time, with Halpin and Little being among those three.
Little and RF Demeter picked up second place, with Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda finishing third. Buck Davidson and Ballynoecastle RM finished fourth on a 51.3 after picking up a bit of time on course. Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless finished fifth.
Overnight leaders Will Faudree with Pawlow, as well as veteran partners Allison Springer on Arthur fell victim to a difficult course courtesy of designer Tremaine Cooper. Springer, who had requested a few changes to the fence 21 combination earlier in the competition, obviously knew it was going to be difficult. A refusal at the fence dropped them out of the top three.
Likewise, Faudree acquired a refusal at the last element of the large water jump complex. The corner had been set on a steep angle that caught a number of riders off guard earlier in the day. Faudree successfully navigated the element on his earlier rides, but lost his line to jump and just narrowly missed getting inside the flags.
Third-placed rider Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda managed the corner successfully noting that the Thoroughbred gelding “is really excited and looking for the flags.”