Burton and Jung Share The Weekend's Spoils
Photo: Julia Rau/FEI
Chris Burton (AUS) won the Australian leg of the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing series at Sydney's World Cup Show (7-9 May), just trouncing last year's winner Megan Jones (AUS) who narrowly failed to repeat her 2009 feat of a Kihikihi-Sydney double.
Burton, who won the Adelaide (AUS) 4-star in 2008 on Newsprint, was this time riding Holstein Park Leilani, a 17-year-old Warmblood mare, on which he rose to the top from fourth place after Dressage. His clear Cross-Country round, one of only four inside the optimum time of 7min 20sec, elevated him to second and, when Jones had a Jumping rail down, he found himself on the winner's podium.
The versatile Heath Ryan (AUS), who has represented Australia at championship level in "pure" Dressage, led the first phase on Mystery Whisper with 39.4 penalties, the only sub-40 mark in the 31-strong field. However, 14 Cross-Country time faults and a Jumping pole dropped him to ninth place.
Jones, the Kihikihi (NZL) winner, took the lead after Cross-Country on her home-bred Olympic team silver medallist Kirby Park Irish Jester, but one rail down in the Jumping cost her the double and she slipped to the runner-up spot. However, she still goes into the lead in the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing rankings after four out of 12 events.
Clarke Johnstone (NZL), third at Kihikihi, made the journey to Sydney courtesy of the reciprocal arrangement between the two events with travel expenses. He finished third here too, on Orient Express, and is now second in the rankings, which carry a US$180,000 prize pot to the highest-placed 15 riders at the end of the series.
Jones' Olympic team mate Sonja Johnson (AUS), was fourth on her former cutting horse Ringwould Jaguar and fifth on Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, also within the Cross-Country optimum. The other rider to achieve this, with both his horses, was another member of the Beijing team, Shane Rose (AUS) on Taurus, eighth, and Koko Black, 12th.
Twenty of the 31 starters completed the competition with 18 clear Cross-Country rounds.
1 Chris Burton/Holstein Park Leilani (AUS) 46.5 + 0 + 0 = 46.5
Jung, the reigning European bronze medallist and winner of Luhmühlen plus the HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Final in 2009, added only 2.4 Cross Country time penalties to his excellent Dressage score of 38.0 penalties and could not be headed.
He held a 9.2 penalty lead after Dressage and ultimately finished nearly 20 penalties ahead of his nearest rival, Kai-Steffen Meier (GER) on TSF Karascada.
Despite the international nature of the field of 23 - seven nations were represented (Germany, France, Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden) - the host nation filled the top four places.
Kai Rüder (GER), just back from Badminton, was third on Saaten-Unions Charlie Weld, a horse he has been competing in national events in Britain this spring, and Anna Junkmann was fourth on Charlott 23.
Alexandra Bourreau (FRA) was best of the visitors, in fifth on Trip Up, ahead of Japanese rider Kenki Sato on Hop And Skip.
Sixteen completed the competition with 13 clear Cross-Country rounds but no-one finished inside the optimum time of 6min 44sec. Arnaud Boiteau (FRA) slipped from sixth after Dressage to eventual ninth with a run-out on the veteran Expo du Moulin and Madeleine Brugman (NED), fourth after Dressage on Sundancer, was eliminated across country.
1 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER) 35.6 + 2.4 + 0 = 38.0
Standings (after 4 of 12 events)
1 Megan Jones (AUS) 138 points
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