FEI Eventing World Cup Update: Melbourne
Melbourne, Vic., Australia
by Kate Green
Armstrong, 22, was only fifth after Dressage on Voortrekker (57.9), who was tenth at Australia's earlier FEI Eventing World Cup qualifier at Warwick last month; however, an eventful cross-country day significantly re-arranged the leaderboard with only five clears from the 16 starters.
Luke Jones (AUS) and Soul, who were third from last after dressage (71.0), rose to second place by finishing bang on the optimum time of 7min over the course designed by Australian team coach and Chairman of the FEI Eventing Committee Wayne Roycroft with Ewan Kellet; Jones, 32, was the only rider not to have time penalties.
Olympic rider Rebel Morrow (AUS) led the dressage phase on Mousetrap (42.7) but had two cross-country stops and withdrew before the final show jumping phase; second-placed Craig Barrett (AUS) and Staccato (48.1) also had a stop and dropped to sixth with a final score of 101.7; and third-placed Heath Ryan (AUS) and Diablo, the Warwick runners-up, lay third after dressage but also fell foul of the course and were eliminated.
Robert Palm (AUS), who was fourth at Warwick, went one better this time to finish third (77.4); he is now 15th in the FEI World Cup Rankings on 70 points.
Meanwhile, Armstrong becomes the sixth Australian rider to enter the top 10 in the FEI Eventing World Cup Rankings, slotting into eighth place with 112 points.
After 12 of the 17 qualifiers, Philip Dutton still leads on 170, with fellow Australians Clayton Fredericks third (152), Shane Rose sixth (118), Andrew Hoy seventh (114) and Lucinda Fredericks 10th (103). The only non-Australians are Karin Donckers (BEL), second (165) and Britons Rodney Powell, fourth (142) and Matthew Wright, fifth (142).
The FEI Eventing World Cup series now moves to Eastern Europe for the first time this year, to Strzegom (POL) on 22 25 June.
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