Tim Price Claims Victory at MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill
Olympic veterans and first-time 5 Star horses from three countries were the ones to beat for the show jumping finale of the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. World #1 Tim Price (NZL) jumped the finals day’s clear aboard Jean-Louis Stauffer’s 10-year-old Selle Français stallion Coup De Coeur Dudevin to take top honours, finishing on a score of 28.2.
Like Price, second-place finisher Tamie Smith (USA) added only time faults to her score aboard Ruth Bley’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito, but her final score of 29.8 kept them just 0.1 ahead of World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR). Townend finished in third place with his dressage score of 29.9, riding John Peace’s 11-year-old Spanish gelding As Is through one of only five double-clear rounds on Sunday.
The MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, one of only two 5-Star level equestrian events of its kind in the United States took place October 13-16. The event’s prestigious 5 Star (CCI5*-L) designation is the pinnacle of the Olympic sport of Eventing, often described as an equestrian triathlon.
Course designer Ken Krome (USA) presented the 5 Star competitors with a difficult 16-effort, 1.30m track, but Price, Smith and Townend’s rookie horses answered all the questions to land them on the podium.
Not far behind them were Americans Phillip Dutton and Jennie Brannigan, who rounded out the top five with their double-clear show jumping rounds. Dutton piloted his Tokyo Olympic partner Z into fourth place with their dressage score of 30.5; Brannigan moved into fifth place on her dressage score of 31.5 aboard Nina and Tim Gardner’s FE Lifestyle.
“I’m very proud of Coup De Coeur Dudevin,”
“In fact, I think all three of these top horses are incredible. It’s exciting for the sport, it’s exciting for us personally, and it’s just so unexpected to have a top result like this. I came in hoping that I would have a top-five finish with this horse, but I expected there would be a couple of things that showed his lack of experience. Luckily, we were able to do that while keeping a nice, low score. I thought he did quite well.
“For my round, there was a lot of pressure, but you just stay focused on the job. To build up the rhythm before the start was the most important part of it. Then I just tried to give him a good ride and stick to the plan. If I had to execute Plan B, I had to do it quickly and do it well. He’s got a really long stride, which was more evident today than in some of the other show jumping rounds I’ve had, but he really turned himself inside-out for me. He really impressed me, and I’m very excited about him.”
Smith, who earned a Team Silver medal at the FEI Eventing World Championships in September commented:
“It has not been the fairytale year that you might think. Long story short, California in my area was infected with EHV this winter. I got out of there right before that and went east, but then I promptly broke my ankle and tore all the ligaments in it. I could just see my dreams kind of fading away. I didn’t think I’d be in contention for the World Championships, but I also wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“These guys are legends in the sport, and it’s an honor to be up here with them,”
she added of her fellow podium finishers.
“The first three months of 2022 was a disaster for me. My horse had broken his wither on top of everything else, so to have the fall season that I’ve had from Pratoni on has been really special. I have a huge, wonderful support team, and I know that we’re all just ecstatic about this accomplishment.”
Third placed Townend added:
“I’m obviously delighted with him. He belongs to my new job at Caunton with the Peace family. It’s the first time I’ve had a job since I was 21, so delivering these results to the people employing me for the first time this year is really special to me. It’s been a different year for me with so many people behind the scenes at Caunton, but one that’s been so, so positive.
“As Is was purchased earlier this year, and for us to deliver the result that we thought he was capable of is incredible,”
“You never know with a new horse and a 5 star; anything can happen. He went out a bit green yesterday, and I thought last night, ‘Let’s just hope he’s as careful in the show jumping, and we’ll be alright.’ To know that I was on such a good jumper, it came down to me to press the right buttons and get the right distances. It’s just hugely exciting that we have a horse of this caliber.”
About the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill
One of only two 5 Star events in the United States and just the seventh worldwide, the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory continues the storied legacy of Eventing at the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland. The prestigious 5 Star (CCI5*-L) designation is the pinnacle of the Olympic sport of Eventing, best described as an equestrian triathlon. The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill is produced by the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland and in partnership with Fair Hill International.