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Ian Roberts Highest Placed Canadian At Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event
Lexington, KY, USA
Photos: Anthony Trollope/RedBayStock.com

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Ian Roberts
Ian Roberts of Port Perry, ON, was Canada's top placed competitor at the CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event held April 26-30 in Lexington, KY.

Competitors from around the globe gathered to contest the only three-day event in the western hemisphere to be held at the four-star level. Following three phases of competition - dressage, cross-country and show jumping, Roberts placed 23rd overall.

Following the opening phase of dressage, Roberts was sitting in 48th position. A well-executed cross-country performance that netted him .4 time penalties for exceeding the optimum time by one second catapulted him to 20th position on the leader board. Sixteen penalties accumulated in Sunday's final phase of show jumping allowed Roberts to finish with a three-day total of 88.8 penalties riding Napalm, a 10-year-old grey Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by himself, his wife, Kelly Plitz, and Tracy Newman.

"He is an easy horse to ride cross-country, and he just went out and jumped around," noted Roberts, who represented Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. "The course really suited my horse and suited my style. The course itself was the type I hadn't seen in many years, an older style but very sophisticated.

"The weekend didn't start particularly well, I was disappointed in my dressage test," continued Roberts, who operates Dreamcrest Farm, a well-known eventing training and competition facility in Port Perry, ON. "Our dressage had been going better in training, but we didn't put it together on the day, unfortunately. And in show jumping, the results didn't reflect how well the horse jumped. This is a true four-star horse."

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Mike Winter
Roberts purchased Napalm as a four-year-old in England. The pair will now await the selection committee's decision on which four horse-rider combinations will represent Canada at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, this August.

Another Canadian Olympian, Kelli McMullen Temple, a Toronto native now making her home in Virginia, also successfully completed the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event riding Paris II, a nine-year-old selle francais gelding owned by Christine Stiller. A beautiful dressage performance earned the pair a score of 48.7 penalty points and a place among the top ten following the opening phase. An unfortunate stop at 16c on the cross-country course resulted in penalties, and two rails dropped in show jumping left the pair with a three-phase total of 106.9 penalties for 29th place overall.

Lesley Grant, 31, of Mount Albert, ON, was the only other Canadian to successfully complete the renowned test of Rolex Kentucky. Riding Timber Spirit, an 11-year-old English thoroughbred gelding, owned in partnership with her father, Anthony Grant, Grant jumped clear cross-country, picking up 23.2 time penalties. The pair, who were competing for their second time after placing 20th in 2005, finished in 33rd place overall this year.

Olympic Gold Medallist Andrew Hoy of Australia celebrated his first Rolex Kentucky victory with a final score of 53.1 penalties riding Master Monarch. Two Americans, Heidi White and Stephen Bradley, were second and third respectively.

Of the original 56 starters, only 34 were able to finish what many believe to be the ultimate test of horsemanship. The cross-country course set by Olympic course designer Michael Etherington-Smith of Great Britain claimed its fair share of victims, including several of the favourites to win. Three Canadian starters, Athens Olympians Garry Roque riding Waikura and Mike Winter riding Kingpin, along with 2003 Pan American Games Team Silver Medallist, Penny Rowland riding Windswept, were unable to complete Saturday's cross-country phase. All three competitors will now focus on competing at the CCI*** Jersey Fresh Three Day Event scheduled for the end of May in Allentown, NJ.


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