19 June 2011

Melbourne: Craig Barrett wins Melbourne CCI3*

Craig Barrett - Photo courtesy Equestrian Australia -  by Derek O'Leary

Craig Barrett jumped a beautiful clear round on Wendela Jamie to move up from third place and win the Bates CCI3* at Melbourne International Three-Day Event.

Held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre, the event was the first chance for Australian-based Eventing riders to qualify for the London Olympic Games. All eyes are on the elite competitors as the 2012 Games are just over 12 months away.

This year’s event enjoyed record crowds with around 12,000 spectators watching the cross-country action on Sunday. A sunny winter’s day provided the ideal conditions for fans as well as the 170 horses and riders who galloped and jumped their way through the picturesque grounds of the Werribee Park Mansion.

"You are only as good as your horse and this horse is a superstar," said Craig of his champion
13-year-old thoroughbred.

Barrett, 41, also thanked the owners of Wendela Jamie for their continued support “Helen and Henry Hicks have stuck by me, we have had some ups and downs but they have stayed supportive the whole time, and it’s been a while".

“There is a great system supporting Australian riders and we are going places,” said Barrett, a professional rider and coach based at Branxton, NSW with wife Prue and their two children.

2008 Olympic Silver Medallist Shane Rose riding Taurus and Emma Mason, from Mangrove Mountain, NSW aboard F1 Pharinelli were leading the class on an equal score going into the final phase. Technically, Mason was placed second behind Rose as he was closest to the optimum time on the cross-country. Mason cleared her mind of thoughts from last year’s Adelaide CCI4* where she lost the competition in the Jumping phase.  This time it seemed as if a clear round was in the bag until the final moment when F1 Pharinelli knocked the back rail of the last jump with his back feet and it fell to the floor.

“I just needed to get a few centimetres closer to that fence,” said a disappointed Mason. “I watched other riders take a more direct line and get six and half strides, I wanted to get the seven so I stayed out a little wider, obviously a bit too wide,” she said.

With only Rose left to jump, the 3,000 spectators in the indoor arena were on the edge of their seats. Rose needed a clear round from his 8-year-old Warmblood to stay ahead of Barrett.

There was absolute silence as Rose entered the arena however it was broken by a rail down and unfortunately for Rose they continued to fall, five rails in total reducing the pair to 15th. Barrett won the title on a score of 49.20 followed by Mason on 51.30.  Alice Montgomery (NZL) finished third riding Gordon making their trip across the Tasman worthwhile.

Gold medallist Stuart Tinney and his 9-year-old gelding Orchard Hill jumped a clear round to claim fourth place. Two rails for Natalie Blundell put her and Algebra in fifth and Tallara Barwick enjoyed a good clear round on the lovely 17-year-old Chief Justice to finish sixth.

Katja Weimann won the CCI2* on BP Cosmopolitan with a clear round moving her up from second place.  Overnight leaders Christine Bates and Delago had two fences down. "I made one mistake and he made one as well, but I am really pleased with how he went all weekend," said Christine who finished second on the young thoroughbred.  Jade Findlay and Bloomers Twinkletoes moved up from ninth to third with a great clear round. In fourth place was Bates on her other ride Adelaide Hill, with one rail.  A notable omission from the CCI2* was Lauren Balcomb on Kootamootoo who had been placed second after the cross-country phase. Lauren did not present “Koots” as he was running a fever. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Olympian Amanda Ross used her experience to jump a lovely clear round on Michelle Clough’s 6-year-old chestnut gelding William Wordsworth to win the IRT CCI1* on their Dressage score.
21-year-old Cooper Oborn of South Australia jumped well to retain second place on Sun Shower. Victoria’s Will Enzinger took third place on Ruban Son and 4th place on Wyuna Clear Image.

Full results can be found at http://www.equi-score.de/index.php?mod=mod_mi3de2011

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