1 May 2016

New Zealanders slip in tough conditions at Kentucky

9:08 am on 1 May 2016

Bouts of torrential rain made for challenging conditions on cross country day at the Kentucky Three Day Event in the United States.

Sir Mark Todd and his horse Campino at Kentucky.

Sir Mark Todd and his horse Campino at Kentucky. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand has two in the top 15, but the leaderboard is spearheaded by Michael Jung aboard Fischer Rocana, followed by a slew of American combinations.

Sir Mark Todd is the best of the New Zealanders aboard Campino, sitting in 12th place on 56.4 penalty points, with Jock Paget and Clifton Signature a further three places back on 57.1.

No one managed to go inside the time allowed, with even leader Jung going two seconds over and adding 0.8 time penalties to his score to sit on 35.2. As the day drew on, the track became more and more taxing, making it even tougher to go inside the time allowed.

Tim Price and Bango looked to be the ones to do it, but parted company at a corner with just one fence to go.

Paget was very pleased with Clifton Signature's efforts.

"I had a ball on my horse," he said. "We found it a little hard work with all the hills and the twisting and turning. He's quite a big horse."

But Paget loved the Derek di Grazia-designed course.

"Derek is one of my favourite builders and I really enjoy riding his courses."

A few times Paget had sought fresh ground in an endeavour to preserve his horse as much as possible. While he had started with the intention of chasing the time, he said he stopped watching the clock later in the course when the horse tired.

"He has a great mind, a big heart and he just kept trying. I wanted him to finish as nicely as possible. I would like to have him there for the Olympics so the priority was that he had a nice experience."

Jung now has three rails in hand as the field head to the final stage, the showjumping tomorrow. All face a horse inspection before starting.

Blyth Tait and Xanthus III had a run out at a pair of brushes mid-course to finish on 108.5 in 50th place, while Joe Meyer's Clip Clop stopped early on to finish right behind them on 118.6 in 51st.