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Ready for the Big Time: Boyd Martin Heads to Rolex
West Grove, PA, USA
Photo: Anthony Trollope/
Boyd Martin and Ying Yang Yo
Boyd Martin and his horses are in good form as they ready themselves for the biggest competition on the US eventing calendar, the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in Lexington next weekend. With the Olympic Games the focus of everyone's attention, Rolex is an important outing for Boyd as he aims to make the Australian team bound for Hong Kong this summer.

At their final outing before heading to Kentucky, The Fork CIC*** in Norwood, North Carolina, both horses, Ying Yang Yo and Neville Bardos, had top-notch performances in the dressage and show jumping. Inclement weather forced the organizers to move cross-country from Saturday to Sunday in order to make the going safe for horses and riders. On the wet footing Boyd rode conservatively around Mark Phillips' championship three-star course to finish slow but clean on both horses.

"Ying Yang Yo and Neville have both had a great preparation," said Boyd. "They both went around well – it was pretty muddy conditions but both were nice and confident, and I feel their fitness is good."

Neville Bardos is a 16.1 h.h., 2000 Australian Thoroughbred Gelding, (Mahayya x Zambia) who finished 4th at the 2007 Fair Hill International CCI***.

Ying Yang Yo is a 16 h.h., 1997 Australian Thoroughbred Gelding, by Mr. Investor (by Sir Tristan) out of Magical Gift. In 2007, he finished 2nd at the Fair Hill International CCI***. Ying Yang Yo is owned by Boyd in partnership with Faye Woolf of Durham, NC.

This year's event will not be Boyd's first go around the four-star course in Kentucky. He and Ying Yang Yo finished 11th overall with 64.2 penalties in the 2006 event, for which he flew over from Australia to train with Phillip Dutton. He enjoyed the experience so much that he left Ying Yang Yo in the US and in the beginning of 2007 he and his wife Silva, a Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer, made the move to the US with all of their horses. Their business, Windurra USA LLC, is based out of Dutton's True Prospect Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania.

"I think it'll be a little easier since it's my second time," said Boyd. "The first time I was a little shell-shocked, watching all the big stars go around. I've got more experience and I'm more settled now. I'm really looking forward to the event."

Neville Bardos will compete in dressage on Thursday morning, which may be to this young horse's advantage with smaller crowds in the stands of the main arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. Ying Yang Yo will strut his stuff Friday afternoon. Silva, who spent the winter training and showing in Wellington, Florida will be on hand to offer her expert coaching to her husband as well as students Cayla Kitayama, Jan Byyny and Julia Steinberg.

Faye Woolf is an experienced horse owner, having also owned Highland Hogan and Call Me Olllie, ridden by Becky Holder. She first met Ying Yang Yo after Rolex Kentucky in 2006, when her daughter Eliza, who was training with Phillip Dutton, needed a quiet horse to ride and school – with Boyd back in Australia preparing for the big move, that horse was Ying Yang Yo, known around the barn as "Thomas".

"Thomas and Boyd are wonderful and it's great to help Boyd," said Woolf. "It's our first time at Kentucky since Hogan so we're really excited."

With a good result at Rolex, Boyd hopes to get on the Australian squad training in England over the summer and ultimately to be selected for the Olympic team heading to Hong Kong in August. It would be his first opportunity to represent Australia in international competition.

Boyd and Silva are sponsored by Bit of Britain and Devoucoux. Boyd will be signing autographs in the trade fair for both of his sponsors and will lead a Bit of Britain sponsored cross-country course walk, open to the public, late Friday afternoon. Spectators should not miss this opportunity for a first-hand look at the impressive course narrated by Boyd's entertaining commentary.

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