Megan Jones wins second eventing World Cup round

May 4, 2009

Australia's Megan Jones is proving home-based riders can foot it with the best in the world after following up her Olympic placing last year with her second World Cup eventing qualifier win this season.

Jones is now guaranteed a place at the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Final at Strzegom, Poland, in August, after winning the three-star qualifier at Sydney's Weekend of Equestrian World Cups, on her home-bred Irish sport horse Kirby Park Irish Jester.

Megan Jones and Kirby Park Irish Jester on the cross-country.

Jones is the winner of both the first and second HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing qualifiers.

Jones, 32, and her home-bred mount domainated last month's Kihikihi World Cup qualifier in New Zealand, taking home $NZ23,500 - the winner's share of the $70,000 prize pool, the largest ever in the country. The only other rider to win two qualifiers in a season was France's Nicolas Touzaint in 2007.

In Sydney, Jones, a team silver medallist at last year's Olympic Games and a team bronze medallist at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games, scored the only sub-40 dressage mark from the Ground Jury, Beth Turner, Ron Patterson and Barry Roycroft. Riding her medal-winning horse, she was also fastest across country and gave herself a three-fence lead to win the competition.

She had just the one jumping rail down to beat Georgia Clifford (AUS) on It's Monty by a clear margin of 9.2 penalties. Clifford, fifth after dressage, benefited from the Cross-Country mistakes of Jones's Olympic team mate, Shane Rose (AUS) and Chris Burton (AUS) and the slower time of Olivia Bunn (AUS).

Rose was second after the dressage on All Luck, just as he was at Kihikihi, but history repeated itself and he dropped down the order again with a coss-country refusal. Burton had two refusals on Holstein Park Leilani. Bunn, third after the dressage on GV Bullwinkle, clocked 17.2 time penalties to drop to fifth.

Olympic team gold medallist Stuart Tinney (AUS) rose from sixth after the dressage to third on Velletri and Megan Jones rose to fourth on her other ride, Allofasudden.

The top four placings remained the same in the final jumping phase, with Clifford and Tinney achieving the only clear rounds. Bunn dropped one slot to sixth with 16 faults, swapping places with Emma Scott (AUS) on Mustang.

Of the Kiwi riders in the event, Blair Richardson was eliminated on the cross-country on Spend Up, and Clarke Johnstone withdrew Oakley Vision after the dressage.

• Clarke Johnstone made amends in the two-star class with a win on Orient Express, wth 61.20 penalties. In fourth place in the class was fellow Kiwi Lizzie Brown on Henton Attorney General, with 67.30 penalties. Claire Tasker and Specialty were eliminated on the cross-country.