The Fork has always been a lucky location Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda and this year the streak continued with the pair earning a win in the CIC3* with a picture perfect cross-country round.
“Between me and the people I am friends with, we all seem to do well at this event,” said Brannigan. “They are all really good riders and those are the ones that usually do well [at The Fork].”
“[Cambalda] galloped and didn’t try to run out on any corners, so I was happy about,” said Brannigan. “He was on today; he was on for everything. He wanted to fight for the flags, and that was a really nice feeling because he doesn’t always feel like that.”
Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding have been partners for 7 years and in all that time they have had only two events with cross-country jump penalties below the four-star level.
“You think about the horse you’ve had through ups and downs and ins and outs, and you think about all the horses that people have had, and I just think to myself ‘gosh I still have this horse.’ He is still kicking along which is great. At the end of the day at the four-star level we have had a lot of weird stuff happen, but I don’t think you are going to find a horse that is this consistent at the three-star level.”
“He is a player and he shows up in all three phases pretty much all the time, so hopefully we can put some demons to rest at Rolex. He is a good friend, and I have got to give it to him.”
Buck Davidson and Carl and Cassandra Segal’s Ballynoecastle RM also held onto his overnight position by posting a double clear round.
“I was really happy with him,” said Davidson. “He did it really easily, and he was very good – I was slowing down after the mound, I could have been 30 seconds under if I wanted to. He is really peaking at the right time and I feel like I have the best Reggie I have ever had going into Kentucky, so fingers crossed that it all stays together.”
Rounding out the top three is Marilyn Little and Demeter who made a big leap up the leaderboard from 16th to finish out the weekend in which show jumping and cross-country time proved very influential.
- Only the ‘C’ element of the main water complex caused any trouble despite the worries of many riders. Three riders, Kurt Martin, Timothy Bourke and Holly Payne, had run outs.
- The sunken road at 11 was pulled off the course after Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus had a fall there. They were the fifth rider on course and Brian O’Connor announced the ground jury decided it wasn’t riding well.
Lauren Kieffer maintained her lead in both Advanced divisions and took home the blue ribbons with Team Rebecca’s Veronica in the A division and Kylie and Courtney Ramsay’s Czechmate in the B division. Also in the B, Kieffer finished third with Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett and fourth with Jacqueline Mars’ Landmark’s Monte Carlo – both homebreds who she has brought up through the USEA Young Event Horse Series.
“All these horses are really, really nice and it is so fun to go out on them every weekend. It is cool to have all these American homebreds doing well. I have grown up with them and they have grown up with me, and they are my kids at this point, so it is pretty exciting to see them going this well. It is cool that all the people who own them have done so for years and are in it for the long haul.”
With four rides in the Advanced and a ride in the CIC2*, Kieffer left the start box five times today, and she said the hardest part of having multiple upper level rides is staying focused on the one she has on course at the time. “I will get out there and think oh on the next one I need to do this, but it is important to only think about the one you are riding at the time. The flip side is you get in such a rhythm, and it helps with making the time.”
In the A division, Lillian Heard and Share Option moved up into second and Phillip Dutton slotted into third with Mighty Nice. While in the B division, Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa slipped between Kieffer’s rides for second.
The CIC2* proved action packed from start to finish with no pairs making time on the course. When Sinead Halpin had an unfortunate fall from her early ride in the CIC2*, Grey Area, at the brush after the mound, she was forced to withdraw Nicole Carolan’s Topgun who was the overnight leader. This then moved Peter Barry and Long Island T into the lead. Barry then missed the double brush after the water jump and was technically eliminated, giving Lillian Heard the lead with Abbie Golden’s Arundel. After a spectacular save in the main water cost the pair precious seconds, Tamra Smith was able to finally secure the win with Alex Ahearn’s Mai Baum.
The final placings saw Heard sandwiched between Smith’s two rides with the Milton Syndicate’s Fleur de Lis in third.
Molly Tully and Alexandra Knowles’ Last Call crossed the finish line two seconds over time, but the pair had it in hand and was able to maintain their overnight lead. With this event marking the end of Tully’s lease of “Fergie” it was an exciting finale for the partnership.
Beau Guimond and Filibuster ST held onto the red ribbon while Selena O’Hanlon moved up into third position with Zephyr.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series
Qualifying for the 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Plantation Field CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships September 2015 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two, Dubarry, and FITS.
The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada, featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board.
The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2015 PRO Tour Series: KER Optimum Time, Tex Sutton, Triple Crown Nutrition, SSG Riding Gloves, and Midadlantic Ltd.
Leslie Mintz – USEA Staff