Photo credit Kerryn Edmans.
It’s a small and select field of 5*L at Maryland but hats off to them for bringing it back for year 2 which was always going to be tricky after an autumn of the Worlds and Burghley. There is no doubt it has a place in the calendar as a proper galloping/jumping endurance 5 star with Ian Stark at the helm which in no way diminishes Pau 5*L with its own place as a great first time 5 star with flat terrain and technical questions from start to finish.
The dressage yesterday was blighted by torrential rain for some of the 12 or so starters in the 5 star and leader Woods Baughman was quick to credit the riding conditions with his improved half pass marks. ” My guy didn’t want to face the rain so suddenly the lateral work was so much better” he quipped but today was blue skies all the way.
Tim and Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) are one of the least experienced in the field, Joker having come off just three long formats in his career and the one 4L. The step up to 5 Star has come quick and he and Tim only really got acquainted in March this year but they already dance together off the same sheet and it was a harmonious if understandably green in places test today. A final score of 27.4 puts them in 2nd place behind Woods on 27.2 and having watched Ian Stark’s course walk preview today there seems to be 2 very obvious things: 1, the footing is amazing and 2, its a hell of a track!
Its perfect ‘fall’ ( meaning Autumn in yank!) weather out in Fairhill and hopefully Joker steps up to the challenge tomorrow. Supergroom Kerryn Edmans has acted as chief photographer as well as chief groom, chief ” let’s make Joker eat” and chief “Just chill Joker, take a breath” guru advisory as part of her multi tasking.
We have everything crossed that Tim’s last cross of 2022 is a great one.
Photo credit Kerryn Edmans. Joker chills in the Fairhill autumn sunshine.