Despite the rain that never let up on Saturday, April 30, for cross-country day, Michael Jung and Fischerrocana sped around the course only accumulating a 2 second time fault, which kept them in the lead. While the course fared well under the rainy conditions, the many hooves that left their mark in the galloping lanes encouraged the riders to pay close attention to where they were guiding their horses.
When the final rider crossed the finish wire, it was the USA’s own Phillip Dutton who garnered both the second and third places on Fernhill Fugitive and Mighty Nice consecutively.
The riders agreed that completing the course took a lot of focus. “For me it was a bit hard working today. She was really fighting and always concentrating. Kentucky is very early in the season. We don’t have as much time to condition,” explained Jung.
Finishing the course in good form is not just about the conditioning of the horse. “In the cross-country you need a horse that trusts you,” he further explained.
Dutton agreed and commented, “It was not easy, especially with the conditions and Derek had added quite a few harder turns, but it was always safe.”
Lauren Kieffer was the winner of the use of a car for a year from Land Rover after she negotiated the course in the time closest to the optimum time.
The riders still have one day to go and as many have learned over the years, anything can happen. Yet with an Olympic gold already under his belt, Jung will enter the arena on Sunday the same way he kicked off the cross-country. He’s going in with one goal in his mind: to win the second leg of the Rolex Triple Crown of Show Jumping. The third leg will be Burghley. If he should win all three he would win an additional $350,000 from Rolex.
For more about the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event visit their website. For more about the Grand Slam of Show Jumping check out their website.