LRK3DE Day Two: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Live Updates Thread

Welcome back the Kentucky Horse Park, where we’re well and truly ensconced in all the excitement of the 2022 renewal of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*. We’ve got 24 horses and riders coming forward across

LRK3DE Day Two: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Live Updates Thread

Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime. Photo by Abby Powell.

Welcome back the Kentucky Horse Park, where we’re well and truly ensconced in all the excitement of the 2022 renewal of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*. We’ve got 24 horses and riders coming forward across three sections this afternoon, beginning at 12.30p.m. EST and ending at roughly 4.15 p.m. Among today’s competitors are German hot favourites Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH, 2019 runners-up Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF, some serious British bombshells in the form of Sarah Bullimore and her European bronze medallist CorouetYasmin Ingham and her Blenheim winner Banzai du Loir, and Pippa Funnell and her exciting debutant Maybach, as well as potentially game-changing tests from Jonelle Price and McClaren, Aachen winners Will Coleman and Off The Record, Boekelo fifth-place finishers Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, and much, much more!

First of all, though, let’s recap where we left off yesterday. At the close of play, we saw Tamie Smith and Fleeceworks Royal head the leaderboard on their score of 32.9, and our ground jury of Nick Burton (C), Gretchen Butts (H), and Christian Steiner (B), were a united front in giving away absolutely no freebies. Demand for 8s outstripped supply, and our pals at EquiRatings tell us that on average, competitors were scoring around five marks higher than projected. Consistency is key in judging, and so we’ll expect them to be similarly harsh today, with just a small handful of horses cracking that all-important 30 barrier. (On average, Kentucky is won on a finishing score under 27, so that really is a crucial barrier to try to slip underneath!)

Here’s the leaderboard so far:

We’ll be coming at you live in just a few moments — in the meantime, check out our jam-packed form guide, which is set up in running order so you can get to know each horse and rider, including their backstory, fun facts, and previous performances insights, as they enter the Rolex Stadium. Got your snacks and beverages? Let’s do this thang.

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1.53: A little inversion and wobble in the reinback sees them get a 5.5 there and a 5 in that halt. Some good changes so far, though!

1.50: And we’re back! Lauren Nicholson and Landmark’s Monte Carlo get us started again after the break.

1.36: That takes us into our first judging break: we’ll be back at 1.50 with Lauren Nicholson and Landmarks Monte Carlo. Here’s the line-up and times for the next section:

1.35: “I had a great feeling the whole week — he’s very relaxed and very nice to ride. He’s such a great horse with a lot of quality, and he’s amazing to ride. I have to say a thank you to my team, who prepared the horse to be in the best shape at the right moment,” says Michi, who looks hard to eclipse at this stage. “I feel very well at Kentucky — this is a great place; it’s horse country and I think the horses feel very welcome and relaxed.”

1.32: They pick up some 8s in the extended canter and final centreline to redeem the changes, and Jonelle will take a score of 33.4 into tomorrow’s cross-country. That’s fourth place at this stage — and interestingly, we see a six mark discrepancy in the judges’ scores. This is likely partly due to the angle on those changes.

1.31: Good stretchy circle here. Not as much downward reach as Chip, but Jonelle is on a hotter horse right now and has gauged what she can do sensibly.

1.30: The canter work is going to be a little expensive here, as McClaren is a little reactive and gets his rage face on in the changes, earning them a few 5.5s.

1.27: Lots of 6.5s and 7s so far as we work through the trot section of the test. There’s a lot of movement to play with in a small package with this horse.

1.25: Our final pair before the first judges’ break will be Kiwi superstar Jonelle Price and the former Sir Mark Todd ride, McClaren. This horse was third at Pau last year and he’s got a big job this week: a good result here could see Jonelle eclipse Oliver Townend, currently World Number One, in the rankings.

1.23: Lots of 6.5s and 7s through the canter work, but the extended canter transition into collected canter dips down to 4s after throwing in some bonus changes. They couldn’t afford that to go below 35, and sure enough, they put a 37 on the board.

1.22: A neat transition out of the reinback into canter. This is on track to be yet another score in the mid-30s, where much of our field currently sits. William’s good changes might help them out a bit, though.

1.21: Ahh! Frustratingly, ‘William’ breaks into canter in the extended trot.

1.19: Hannah Sue Burnett is probably slightly ruing the fact that she has to go in right after Herr Jung, but what joy for her to be back on the nineteen-year-old Harbour Pilot. The shortage of runs over the pandemic is definitely pushing the average age of horses up — we’ve got two nineteen year olds this week and an average age of 14.

1.18: Just going to throw this out there, but they got a 10 for that final centreline and halt. So that’s a thing.

1.16: Michi drops his reins for the double-handed wave to his cheering fans. It’s an incredible 20.3. Remember how we said everyone’s averaging around five penalties above their projections? Shall we just start referring to this as the time he delivered a 15 at Kentucky?

1.15: The changes are excellent but even better is the very clear transition into and out of extended canter, and then the boldest, softest, loosest stretchy circle we’ve yet seen. This horse is extraordinarily adjustable.

1.13: Michi earns a six in the halt as Chip takes a tiny step forward. He redeems himself with two 9s for the reinback. He’s trending a 23 right now.

1.11: Straight off the bat we see a 9 for the entrance. Michi is giving a masterclass here in accurate riding, which is his hallmark: he always coaxed excellent scores out of the very ordinary mover La Biosthetique Sam FBW, and that’s all about doing everything by the book. They’ve not gone below a 7 so far.

1.09: That’s a 38.5 for Buck and Sorocaima. Whew. Now we’ve got a seriously, seriously big test: it’s Michael Jung and fischerChipmunk FRH. This is technically the gelding’s first five-star, though he did compete at the 2018 WEG at Tryon with former rider Julia Krajweski. He scored a sub-20 there so…prepare yourself.

1.07: This horse has a nice, pretty easy change, though he does look like he wants to anticipate them a bit — this is something we often see with green horses who find them reasonably easy. They start to want to chuck them in even when they’re not quite warranted. But here, Buck is doing a good job of managing that tendency. That’s a sweet test to start their week.

“He went pretty good, the little guy — he went in, stayed relaxed, and did a good test. Always could be better, but always could be worse, too,” says a very laid-back class leader Boyd about Tsetserleg.

1.05: ‘Cam’ is another horse to lose focus in the reinback to canter transition, throwing his head in the air and picking up a 4.

1.04: It’s hard to come in after a test like Boyd’s when you’re on a much greener horse that’s a very different type. We’re seeing this test score very consistently through the trot and walk, but it’s consistently at 6 to 6.5. There’s a couple of 7s for the medium walk, which is natural and flowing.

1.02: Next in is Buck Davidson, riding his five-star debutant Sorocaima. This is actually just the Thoroughbred’s 12th international start, but he’s had a pretty cool run so far, including a third-place finish in the CCI4*-L at Morven Park. Buck, who had four initial entries and three intended runners, is giving himself a relatively easy (ha! Ha!) week with just two horses actually going forward in this class.

1.00: It’s hard to imagine what the judges want to see to award an 8 in the changes, because those looked seriously nice, straight, clean, and expressive enough from where we stand. But hey ho — they finish their test to a raucous cheer and go straight to the top of the leaderboard with a super 29.3. Our first sub-30 of this five star!

12.59: Thomas is super straight and accurate in his changes so far. These are being set up really sensibly and it’s paying off. A lovely test so far but we’re seeing the marks trend down a bit towards 6.5 and 7 in the canter work.

12.57: Oh my god, we’ve seen a 9! Boyd and Thomas get it in their reinback from Nick Burton at C. I’ll have to double check in the judging break, but I’m nearly certain this is the first 9 we’ve seen.

12.56: 2019’s runners up, Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg, are in the ring now. This is a test that will have helped to fill the stands — and so far, they’re rewarding folks’ dedication with a mark that’s trending in the lead.

12.54: 36.5 for Joseph and Mario. A disappointing mark on paper but by these judging standards, it’s enough for seventh at the moment. It’s hard to see that staying in the top ten by the end of the day, though, because we have some serious heavy hitters to come.

12.52: Some sweet changes and lovely work in the canter. This looks like such an adjustable horse and it’s so obvious that the pair have formed a really special partnership together – a fact that’s further bolstered by the fact that Laura actually marketed the gelding as a Young Rider prospect to go and succeed at the three-star level. She’s remained instrumental in helping the pair get to know one another, and helped him in the warm-up and at the in-gate on the final day of Pau last year.

12.50: Mario throws his head up for a second in the reinback as something catches his eye in the stands. The first few strides of the canter look a little wobbly in the contact as a result as Joseph works to put the package back together.

12.49: There’s an early bobble as Mario tries to throw a step of canter into the trot move-off out of the first halt and salute, but Joseph looks well-focused and gets everything back well. It’s tough when you have an early little mistake like that, because it can throw your concentration off. This is where the mental game of this sport comes into play – you have to treat every movement as a blank slate, while also always setting up and preparing for what’s to come. It’s a level of mental duality that takes a lifetime to hone.

12.47: Next up is our Irish competitor, Joseph Murphy, who rides his relatively new ride Calmaro in their second five-star together. This sweet grey gelding, known as Mario at home, finished in the top fifteen at Pau last year, and seventeenth at Aachen with Joseph, and was previously campaigned by Laura Collett.

12.43: We ordinarily see a high-30s score for this pair, and once again, we’re seeing scores around five marks above the projections: after a couple of tense, hollow changes, Lisa Marie and Honor Me earn a 43.1. That’ll put them just outside the top twenty at this stage.

12.41: Honor Me uses the halt and reinback for a poo break, which isn’t always super helpful for the canter tour that follows, because it can disengage the hindend a bit. But Lisa Marie is working on nursing that hind leg back underneath him.

12.39: The trot half-passes look balanced and fluid. This horse is so tidy in his lateral work, which is a testament to this pair’s long partnership and experience. It’s not always easy to get a big horse to put all its parts in the right place.

12.37: Our first Canadian combo of the day will be fan favourites Lisa Marie Ferguson and her Welsh cob cross, Honor Me. This is their eighth five-star start, counting 2018’s World Equestrian Games, and Honor Me definitely knows where he is: he looks impressed as he comes down the first centreline.

12.36: Jennie’s characteristic broad smile falters a little at the final halt and salute. She’s a serious competitor, and she’ll really be kicking herself over that costly error even when she’s got so much to rejoice in from this test and ‘Fox’s’ performance. They end up with a 37 on the board.

12.35: The second and third changes make up for a bubbly first one. The extended canter isn’t as bold as I’d like to have seen, but the stretchy circle is very good – Jennie has set him up well through the test and can really trust him to take his nose right down without falling onto his forehand.

12.33: I’m enjoying the progression of FE Lifestyle’s walk, which looks so confident this year — it’s a real strut that Jennie can push on and play with. Frustratingly, though, Jennie picks up an error of course at the start of the canter tour, and then gets a fizzy, slightly untidy first flying change. That error will add two points onto her final score.

12.31: Silva Martin has worked a lot with Jennie and this gelding over the winter; Boyd’s dressage supremo wife not only trained horse and rider in tandem, but also spent a fair amount of the off-season riding the horse herself in Florida. It looks like it’s helped so far: he looks physically stronger this season, and mentally cool, too.

12.29: And here come our first starters down the iconic Rolex ramp! It’ll be Jennie Brannigan and the chestnut FE Lifestyle, who’s owned by Jennie’s longtime supporters Tim and Nina Gardner. Jennie’s delighted to have had a great week at Boekelo in front of some serious crowds last year with this horse, which will no doubt have acted as a great prep for performing at the top level in this big atmosphere.

12.26: Here’s how the first section is going to look timing wise, in case you need to plan your snack runs accordingly:

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