Barrett bests tough Adelaide track to take AI3DE lead

Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire claimed the lead after cross country at the Australian International 3DE in Adelaide. J
Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire claimed the lead after cross country at the Australian International 3DE in Adelaide. © Jenny Barnes/FEI

Australian International Three-Day-Event leader Craig Barrett is both “absolutely thrilled” and “disappointed” after yesterday’s cross-country.

The Australian rider is in his first four-star competition at the Adelaide event, which is also a leg in the HSBC FEI Classics series.

“Sandhills Brillaire went beautifully and galloped really well, but with Wendela Jamie (dressage leader), I just made too many mistakes,” he said.

It was a dramatic day that saw the top three after dressage failing to make it through the finish flags. Barrett produced the run of the day with the trailblazing home-bred Staccato mare, adding just 0.8 of a time penalty to take the lead with a two-day total of 51.80.

Barrett’s other ride, Wendela Jamie, had a runout at the costly number 13, a skinny fence on a related distance off the island in Rymill Lake, and it was here too that Stuart Tinney came to grief and retired after the big grey, Pluto Mio avoided the issue twice.

Shane Rose, who put in a faultless performance to lead the CCI2*, struck trouble early on the 4* track with a runout at 5B riding APH Moritz. A further stop at the Advertiser Hedge saw Rose joining the six 4* competitors to walk home.

Wayne Copping’s track was shortened by 30 seconds, with the Qantas Flyover taken out and the last fence situated close to the misting tents and cooling off area. The weather turned out not to be as severe as predicted, but with horse welfare paramount, the adjustment was applauded by all.

Natalie Blundell from Harden in New South Wales was in contention for London 2012 Olympic Games selection, and with her talented horse Algebra, used her experience to produce only the second clear round over the fences. The pair added 5.6 time penalties and hold overnight second place with 59.80. Blundell won the first Adelaide 4* in 1999 riding Billy Bathgate and said after Saturday’s round that she hope to put pressure on Barrett in the final jumping phase.

“The weather suited the tough thoroughbred,” Barrett said, with Blindell’s Algebra and Murray Lamperd’s Under The Clocks, both ex-racehorses, proving the point. Lamperd and Under The Clocks had a runout at the tall Rose Garden Corners at 17ab. He then added some thoroughbred speed to come home with only 14.8 time penalties to claim third place after the tough cross country. Lamperd is an experienced rider, but has not competed at a 4* event for some time. “It was overwhelming; so intense and so big, I need practice to ride at this level again. The horse is honest and I am positive, and that normally gets us through.”

All the riders declared Adelaide a valuable member of the HSBC FEI Classics series. The cross country track, at just over 10 minutes, was challenging and demanding with the skinny fence 13 coming out of Rymill Lake catching six riders. Technical Delegate Alec Lochore said: “There was definitely something the horses didn’t quite understand. Some horses jumped it beautifully, but it was more than just a coincidence that six horses ran out to the side. It could have been the jump into water, or the light and the shade.”

Penalties and runouts were also spread around the course. Apart from one rider fall, the faults came from failure to have the horse well enough in front of the leg and straight, resulting in harmless but costly penalties.

Spectators flocked to the venue in their thousands, aiming for the shade afforded by the Adelaide Parklands. The event grows each year and, since it became part of the prestigious Classics series, its profile has undoubtedly grown amongst Australian equestrian enthusiasts.

Event Director Gill Rolton was pleased that the Local South Australian Government and Adelaide City Council were both now fully behind the event. “Running this event is a huge commitment, but we need an event of this stature in this country,” she said.

The final jumping phase takes place today, with Barrett aiming not only to win the Adelaide leg of the HSBC FEI Classics, but also claim the HSBC Bursary for the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4* event.


Results after Cross Country:
1 Craig Barrett/Sandhills Brillaire (AUS) 51 + 0.8 = 51.80
2 Natalie Blundell/Algebra (AUS) 54.2 + 5.6 = 59.80
3 Murray Lamperd/Under The Clocks (AUS) 50.7 + 34.8 = 85.50
4 John Twomey/Highly Recommended (AUS) 60.5 + 36.8 = 97.30
5 Jessica Manson/Legal Star (AUS) 62.2 + 44.4 = 106.60
6 Keira Byrnes/Fox Hill (AUS) 67.5 + 54.8 = 122.30
7 Crystal Conning/Marcus Aurelius (AUS) 61.2 + 80.8 = 142.00
8 Andrew Cooper/Guest Of Honour (AUS) 62.0 + 95.0 = 157.00

Reporting: Anna Sharpley

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