Australia’s Lucinda Fredericks produced a brilliant dressage test on Flying Finish to head the field of 44 in the CCI four-star class at the Luhmühlen International Horse Trials in Germany.
The event is the second to last leg in eventing’s HSBC FEI Classics.
The Ground Jury of Jennie Loriston-Clarke (GBR), Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Christoph Hess (GER) awarded her the score of 31.8, one of six to come in under the 40 barrier.
Fredericks has a one-penalty lead over the 2009 winner and current world and European champion Michael Jung (GER), best of the home side on CCI4* first-timer Leopin. Andrew Nicholson (NZL), the only rider who can overtake HSBC FEI Classics leader William Fox-Pitt at this stage, is in close contention in third place with Mr Cruise Control.
Andrew Hoy (AUS) on Rutherglen, last year’s winner Andreas Dibowski (GER), on FRH Butts Avedon, and Oliver Townend (GBR), who conjured a best ever CCI4* mark from new ride Armada, a horse that can be explosive in this phase, also scored sub-40 marks.
“I can’t believe I’ve beaten Michael Jung!” said Fredericks. “But I have just watched a video of our test and I feel my horse did deserve the mark as it was lovely.
“I don’t think I’ll still be in the lead after cross country as, although he’s a very good jumping horse, he’s inexperienced, and I will probably get a few time penalties. But as long as I finish in a good place, I will be very happy. Who knows? We might even be needed for Greenwich in six weeks’ time!”
Fredericks bought the 10-year-old Flying Finish, a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred cross by Candillo, two years ago from a riding school near Stuttgart, Germany, for owner Donald Reid to ride. However, she has taken over the ride on the gelding and has been placed in six CIC3* events, as well as a second place behind Olympic team gold medallists Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Butts Abraxxas at Vairano CCI3* (ITA). It is the horse’s first start at four-star level.
Fredericks, a team silver medalist at the 2008 Olympics, is one of an elite group of riders (William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Pippa Funnell and Andrew Hoy) to have won the Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky CCI4*s – she achieved all three on Headley Britannia.
She describes Mark Phillips’s cross-country track as “pretty meaty. Every jump is big and there’s a stack of wide fences. There’s a lot to jump in 10 minutes. The ground is fast but good, and the rain we’re just getting now will be good. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Results after Dressage
1 Lucinda Fredericks/Flying Finish (AUS) 31.8
2 Michael Jung/Leopin FST (GER) 32.8
3 Andrew Nicholson/Mr Cruise Control (NZL) 34.7
4 Andrew Hoy/Rutherglen (AUS) 34.8
5 Andreas Dibowski/FRH Butts Avedon (GER) 35.2
6 Oliver Townend/Armada (GBR) 39.5
7 Peter Flarup/Calista E (DEN) 40.0
8 Charlotte Agnew/Out Of Africa Two (GBR) 40.8
9 Francis Whittington/Easy Target (GBR) 41.5
10 Andrew Nicholson/Calico Joe (NZL) 41.7
HSBC FEI Classics 2012 Leaderboard (after 3 out of 5 events, due to cancellation of Badminton):
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 30
2 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 16
3 Stuart Tinney (AUS) 15
4 Alison Springer (USA) 12
5 Sonja Johnson (AUS) 12
6 Boyd Martin (USA) 10
7 Emma Mason (AUS) 10
8 Mary King (GBR) 8
9 Karen O’Connor (USA) 8
10 Natalie Blundell (AUS) 8