The cards were shuffled a little, but as expected the experienced combinations kept control of the HSBC CCI4* after a glorious Cross Country day in Adelaide, second leg of the FEI Classics™ 2013/2014 series. Time penalties changed the order slightly with Stuart Tinney (AUS) adding just 0.4 with John and Jane Pittard’s Pluto Mio to take over the lead from fellow Australian Shane Rose.

Rose had held first and third after Friday’s Dressage, but has slipped to second and third. Taurus, third after Dressage, clocked the same time as Pluto Mio to move up to second place just 0.20 penalties behind. “He’s a good galloper”, declared Tinney of the Daley K (by Daktylus) gelding. “He galloped pretty well and was on time at the beginning, but lost time in the middle of the course.”

Dressage leader CP Qualified slipped down the order to third with the addition of 7.2 time penalties, but Rose was clearly delighted with the performance of the CCI4* rookie. Bred more for Jumping than Eventing, the attractive grey looked just as comfortable crossing the finish line as those bred to gallop.

CP Qualified provided the most dramatic incident of the wonderfully incident free afternoon, when he mistimed the bounce into Rymill Lake, left a leg and landed in the water in a heap. It was an amazing save by Rose, who gathered the horse together and managed to stay on board as well, a testament to the time he spends in the saddle; all day, either on his eventers or the Thoroughbreds he breaks in.

“It didn’t feel that scary at the time, the gasp in the crowd alerted me to how it must have looked. The mistake in the water sapped his energy and he ran out of petrol, so I was a bit cautious. However, I was super impressed with him and think he is a promising prospect moving forward. With just 3.80 penalties separating the top six, it’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow.”

Craig Barrett held onto fourth place with the addition of two time penalties on last year’s CCI4* winner, Sandhills Brillaire, looking comfortable and assured on their tour of the Adelaide HSBC CCI4* track.

Sonja Johnson (Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison) and Christopher Burton with his catch ride, TS Jamaimo, were the only two to complete the course clear of time penalties, and both moved up a place to sit fifth and sixth.

Johnson was the CCI4* trailblazer with the Stock Horse, Belfast Mojito, who stepped up impressively in his first four-star outing to move up a place from eighth to seventh. The pair picked up 1.2 time penalties and it looks as though Johnson may well have another international Australian Stock Horse, known as “the breed for every need” on her hands.

Seumas Marwood jumped a good round with his Contango II mare, Wild Oats, adding 2.4 time penalties to move from 12th to eighth. Katja Weimann held ninth place with BP Flamboyant despite adding 5.6 time penalties, while Soigne Jackson has moved up from 14th to round out the top 10 with her Savage Toss Thoroughbred, Gold, with the addition of 3.2 on the clock.
Of the 25 to start the CCI4* Cross Country 20 recorded completion scores, with 16 jumping clear and two staying on their Dressage marks after finishing clear both jumping and time.

With less than a fence covering the top six, tomorrow’s final Jumping phase is tight with no margin for error. It’s going to be a thrilling finish! And if you can’t be there in person, watch it on FEI TV – don’t miss a hoof beat!

FEI/HSBC 4* Standings after Cross Country
1. Stuart Tinney/Pluto Mio (AUS) 45.90
2. Shane Rose/Taurus (AUS) 46.10
3. Shane Rose/CP Qualified (AUS) 46.90
4. Craig Barrett/Sandhills Brillaire (AUS) 48.80
5. Sonja Johnson/Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison (AUS) 49.50
6. Christopher Burton/TS Jamaimo (AUS) 49.70
7. Sonja Johnson/Belfast Mojito (AUS) 51.40
8. Seumas Marwood/Wild Oats (AUS) 55.60
9. Katja Weimann/BP Flamboyant (AUS) 55.90
10 Soigne Jackson/Gold (AUS) 61.20

Full results are available here