Galway Downs Press Release March 30, 2012 Alliston Looks To win Again
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Alliston Looks To win Again at Galway Downs International Horse Trials
Temecula, Calif., March 30, 2012 —With two phases of competition complete, Great Britain’s James Alliston has a tight hold on the top placings in the CIC3*. He took a decisive lead in the dressage aboard India McEvoy’s Jumbo’s Jake, and then he added no penalties in the show jumping to lead the division with 45.6 penalties.
He’s also standing third with his younger horse (and last fall’s second-placed CCI2* horse), Tivoli (53.7). Holding down second is Jolie Wentworth of Martinez, Calif. and her veteran Killian O’Connor, who lowered just one rail in the show jumping to stand on a score of 51.1.
“[Jake]’s never let me down,” said Alliston, 27, of the Irish-bred gelding who won the CCI3* at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event in November. “He’s always a cool dude and you can ride him as hard as you like.
“[For dressage] I literally had five minutes warm-up. It’s amazing that a horse that fit could do that well with so little warm-up—a testimony to his temperament. He’s always a steady Eddy,” said Alliston, who lives in Castro Valley, Calif.
Alliston is also standing first and third in the advanced horse trials, with Parker and Ballingowan Pizazz, respectively.
Alliston is pointing Parker and Jumbo’s Jake toward the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in late April. Ballingowan Pizazz won a team gold medal at the Pan Am Games last year with Shannon Lilley. But Lilley is recovering from back surgery, and she asked Alliston to ride the horse just this week.
“Shannon asked me to ride him, as she was worried about qualifying, so I jumped at the chance. The first time I rode him was Wednesday. He’s got an unbelievable trot—I had a hard time sitting to it,” Alliston said with a laugh.
Wentworth, 30, and Killian O’Connor haven’t had the smoothest preparation for this competition—following a fall on course at Twin Rivers (Calif.) three weeks ago, they had to get special permission to compete here—but the veteran partnership looked strong today.
“Those are literally the only cross-country jumping penalties I’ve ever had on him,” said Wentworth, of Martinez, Calif. She had a staff infection in her leg, and it kept her from closing it effectively. “I just couldn’t stay in the tack; I literally just fell off,” she said.
Killian O’Connor was injured two years ago, and Wentworth wanted to give the 14-year-old gelding plenty of time to recover. “I’ve had him since he was 3. He doesn’t have to prove himself,” she said.
In the CIC2*, Katherine Groesbeck and Oz The Tin Man moved up with a double-clear show jumping round to take the lead with 55.0 penalties. Kaitlin Veltkamp and Flashpoint D (56.1) are standing in second and dressage leader Teresa Harcourt and Bonza Twist of Fate (64.2) fell to third after lowering three rails.
“I was ecstatic,” said Groesbeck, 22, of Canyon Country, Calif. “I cannot even believe how well he jumped. He just gave it that extra oomph.”
Groesbeck and Oz The Tin Man won the classic-format CCI1* at Galway Downs in 2010, and completed their first advanced horse trial earlier this month. She’s hoping to compete at the CCI3* at Galway Downs in November.
Tomorrow’s cross-country will run in reverse order of placing, so the pressure will be on the top-placed riders to deliver clean rounds.
“This format could matter when you have a horse who’s not a good show jumper, but I don’t think it really matters for Jake,” said Alliston. “It certainly makes it very exciting for tomorrow.”
“It’s thrown me for a loop, but it’s a fresh change,” said Groesbeck. “There was definitely a different atmosphere before show jumping today—I was falling asleep before the show jumping. I had to drink a coffee.”
The Galway Downs International Horse Trials is one of the seven events in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, which includes the top horse trials all around the United States. Horses and riders earn points as a pair at the designated Gold Cup events to determine the annual series winners and divide up the prize money.
The generous sponsors of the Galway Downs International Horse Trials include: American Medical Response, Auburn Laboratories, Inc., Big Horse Feed, Devoucoux, Embassy Suites -Temecula, Equine Comfort Products, Equine Insurance of California, Holiday Inn Express, MdBarnmaster, Geranium Street Equestrian, Horsetrader, Point Two USA, Professionals Choice, Riding’s Publications, Inc., Smartpak Equine, Sunsprite Warmbloods and Voltaire Design.
General admission for the Galway Downs International Horse Trials is $8 per day in advance, $10 at the gate. VIP tickets—which include seating in the ringside tent, lunch and a full selection of beverages—are also available for $55 per day. For advance reservations, go to www.galwaydowns.com.
For more information on the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, visit www.galwaydowns.com or call 951-303-0405. To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association’s website (www.useventing.com).