Tim Price and Xavier Faer are the best of the bunch in 11th equal with a score of 28.2 penalty points with Jesse Campbell aboard Diachello scoring 29.1 on debut at this level for 14th equal and Jonelle Price on Grovine de Reve in 20th on 29.9.
Tim and Bango are on 31.5, Jonelle and Classic Moet on 35.2, Jonelle on Grappa Nera on 35.6 and Joe Meyer with Johnny Royale on 40.4.
Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous have held their overnight lead to stay at the front of the 66-strong field with their 21.7 penalty point effort, followed by Tamra Smith (USA) aboard Mai Baum on 21.8 and defending champ Oliver Townend (GBR) and Cooley Master Class on 24.1.
Tim had plenty of good things to say about Xavier Faer who continues to get better. “He didn’t make any mistakes. Generally it was a very good test for him. He is a good cross country galloper and jumper, so I am always trying to get the dressage better,” said Tim. “A lot of work has gone in over the winter and in the lead up to this and I think it is paying off a little bit by him going a bit better than what we normally do – so that is good. It is a nice place to attach the weekend from, which is what we are going to do.”
Tim was hopeful the cross country would be mostly done before the rain comes in too thick and strong. “It might be good to have it more challenging . . . then again, it already is challenging! We’re certainly looking forward to the weekend ahead.”
Jesse was very happy with the efforts of his 11-year-old German-bred gelding. “He was really good. I thought he did everything I asked of him – he stayed rideable and with me and it was certainly in the biggest atmosphere he has been in. There are no spectators but it is still a big empty spooky arena and he was fantastic.”
And Jonelle was happy Grovine de Reve had notched a personal best with his 29.9 penalty point test. “He is not naturally the fanciest mover for the dressage phase but he is a real trier and done nothing but get better and better,” she said. “It was a step up again from Pau. I would have loved a few more marks – I thought they were a little bit lean on the marks with him but it is what it is and he is not too far off the pace. We are heading in the right direction so it is all to play for tomorrow. It could be a different story come the end of tomorrow.”
The CCI4*-S field is led by Tamra Smith (USA) and Envogue with a 25.4 penalty point test with Joe Meyer and Clip Clop on 39.3.
Meanwhile, all eyes now turn to tomorrow’s Derek de Grazia-designed cross county. Jonelle and Grappa Nera are first out in the 5* field at 8.30am (Kentucky time).
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Tim Price