FEI Classics™: Michael Jung makes history at Kentucky
by Kate Green
|On top of the world: Michael Jung (GER) and FischerRocana scored a back-to-back victory at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, third leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 (Red Bay Group LLC/FEI)|
The packed crowds at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), third leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, roared their approval of Michael Jung’s (GER) back-to-back victory on FischerRocana, realising they were in the presence of greatness.
The world number one has an unbeaten record at America’s premier venue, having won on all his three visits, which includes the world title back in 2010.
“I like this place a lot,” said Jung, smilingly acknowledging the crowd. “The people are very friendly and my horse, Roxie, likes it as well. She is getting better and better. I’m learning all the time from her.”
Richard Jeffrey’s Jumping track proved influential and any hopes of applying pressure on Jung evaporated when he was left with four fences in hand to win. He did use up one, when the 11-year-old mare just clipped the second part of the double, but his winning margin of 13.3 penalties is thought to be the biggest in Kentucky’s CCI4* history.
Lauren Kieffer (USA) will surely have done her Olympic selection chances no harm with second place – a repeat of her 2014 result - on another mare, Veronica. This was a rise of four places thanks to achieving the only clear round, albeit with one time penalty, in the top 14.
Kieffer won the Land Rover Ride of the Day prize as the US rider nearest the optimum Cross Country time on Landmark’s Monte Carlo but a disastrous five rails down dropped that partnership from seventh to 18th.
Phillip Dutton (USA) also plummeted, from second to 13th, with 20 Jumping penalties on Fernhill Fugitive, but he still finished fourth and fifth on Mighty Nice and Fernhill Cubalawn.
Maya Black (USA) enjoyed a career best in third place on the spring-heeled Doesn’t Play Fair.
The scarcity of clear rounds at the top of the leaderboard meant that four faults was good enough to elevate Boyd Martin (USA) from 10th to sixth on Blackfoot Mystery, Sir Mark Todd from 12th to seventh on NZB Campino and Elisa Wallace from 14th to eighth on Simply Priceless.
As attention turns to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this weekend, Jung has now risen to taken the lead in the FEI Classics™ as well as setting himself up for the Rolex Grand Slam. His great horse La Biosthetique Sam is already en route for the famous English venue.
“My dream is to win Badminton, of course, but we will have to see what happens,” he said. The rest of the world has been warned.
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