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Fisher lands first FEI Eventing World Cup victory
Temecula, CA, USA

Californian Robyn Fisher has burst into fifth place on the 2006 FEI Eventing World Cup leaderboard after triumphing in the fifth qualifier of the series which was held at the Galway Downs equestrian facility in the heart of the Valley of the Horses in Temecula, California, from 31 March to 2 April.

Fisher, 26, riding her 11-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred The Samurai, began the competition with a luxurious lead of more than 20 penalties over her seven rivals in the Dressage phase, but then nearly squandered victory by accruing 24 time penalties in the very wet conditions on Cross-Country day.

Fisher's compatriot Jennifer Wooten, riding the Irish-bred mare The Good Witch, dramatically closed the gap with the fastest time ­ 5.2 penalties ­ which left Fisher with no margin for error on the final, stadium, day. There she incurred 3 time penalties, which would have lost her the title but for Wooten having a single rail down. She finished on 75.6 penalties.

"I've had a great day," said Fisher, who has campaigned on the European circuit, including at last year's FEI Eventing World Cup Final at Malmö (SWE). "I had no room for error and my aim was to finish clean." She won USD 4,500 and the inaugural Augie Handley Memorial Trophy donated by Santa Fe Hunt of Del Mar.

Wooten, 28, of Buelton, California, was competing in her first FEI Eventing World Cup qualifier and finished only 2.4 penalties behind Fisher (78). "The rain didn't bother me," she said. "I liked the cross-country course (designed by Mike Etherington-Smith) even though it was challenging in places."

Lauren Whitlock, 21, also from California, was third on her 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Kipling on 78.7 penalties; Canadian Hawley Bennett was fourth on Livingstone (80.3 penalties) and Hungarian rider Ildiko Hites was fifth on Ben Fox (108.4).

The 2006 FEI World Cup series next moves east across the USA to Norwood in North Carolina this weekend (6-9 April), where Australian rider Phillip Dutton, currently lying second in the FEI Eventing World Cup rankings behind Karin Donckers (BEL) has five horses entered. The exciting 40-plus entry also includes the father-son combination of Bruce and Buck Davidson and the Olympic silver medallists Kim Severson and Winsome Adante.

Galways Downs CIC-W*** Results

#

Rider

Horse

Ctry

DR

DR

DR

XC

XC

SJ

SJ

Final

Final

Err.

Pen

Pl.

Jump

Time

Jump

Time

Score

Pl.

5

Robyn Fisher

Le Samurai

USA

48.6

1

0

24.0

0

3

75.6

1

2

Jennifer Wooten

The Good Witch

USA

68.8

4

0

5.2

4

0

78.0

2

3

Lauren Whitlock

Kipling

USA

69.1

5

0

5.6

4

0

78.7

3

9

Hawley Bennett

Livingstone

CAN

69.5

6

0

10.8

0

0

80.3

4

1

Ildiko Hites

Ben Fox

HUN

65.2

2

20

23.2

0

0

108.4

5

7

Christian Eagles

The Gingerbread Man

USA

85.1

8

80

32.8

4

0

201.9

6

4

Anne Lindley

Merlin

USA

65.3

3

W

W

W

6

Susanne Andreotti

Macy

USA

76.0

7

W

W

W


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