Photo Credit Tilly Berendt.
A couple of horses held at the jog this morning but they got through and Tim and Coup de Coeur Dudevin (Joker) were one of the pairs to breeze through. It was a long old wait until 2pm stateside until the 5*L got underway with the 3L jumping this morning.
It’s a tight arena and it was a very technical track designed to test not just carefulness but ride ability and balance. There were few clears inside the time and some massive climbs…Harry Meade compensated for a disastrous dressage to sit in 6th after a superb double clear on the ex Kiwi ride Superstition whilst USA’s Lauren Nicholson suffered a bizarre lack of communication with the ground jury sounding the bell to add 13 time to her score to plummet from 7th to 17th with a rail added as well. Great stories with Hannah Hollberg and the 19 year old Harbour Pilot finishing 10th at their last international appearance and a real crowd pleaser as well.
Then it was down to the business end. Suddenly we were into the top 5, the sun was shining in Fairhill and it got very real. Buck Davidson plunged from 5th to 12th with the experienced 5 star horse Carlevo who tipped three rails and as Phillip Dutton jumped a superb clear round on Z for a clear in time the crowd went wild as they sensed an American win.
But it was not to be. Ollie Townend jumped a secure clear in time on As Is to hold his 3rd place on the debutante 5 star horse produced by Andrew Nicholson on 29.9. Much to the crowds delight Tammie Smith, fresh from her team silver medal at Pratoni clinched 2nd on 28.8 and then Tim and Joker cantered into the arena to the sound of silence.
Joker jumped the first, threw his backend away and it was never really in doubt. It was a nailbiting round to watch but Joker never touched a fence and it was actually amazing to re watch… what a round to win. They added just a couple of seconds and finished on 28.2.
Sometimes dreams are made on the back of ambitious plans. Tim found himself with Joker being his No.2 for WEG when he ran 2nd at Millstreet 4L back in the spring and backed that up with a great performance at Le Pin au Haras 4*S in August. There are few horses that get to 5 star as just their 4th ever Long format competition these days…it takes a category A rider for a start and a horse which is truly exceptional. Chris Burton knew it when he ran top 10 at Le Lion d’Angers as a 6 and 7 year old at the Breeding World Championships, Jonelle knew it when she rode him as a 9 year old and Tim recognised and ran with it this year.
Huge congratulations to breeder and owner Jean-Louis Stauffer who trusted Tim and made the investment in the trip and a massive hats off to supergroom Kerryn Edmans who has made the tricky, stressy, worrier and unbelievable athlete Joker her sole charge and her uber mate this last 10 days. Kez has been Joker’s safety net, PA, time out buddy and personal chef on a one to one basis for the last 2 weeks and it has paid off in spades.
And to Tim. What a legend. To finish the season with an individual and Team Bronze medal, a win at Boekelo and a win in Maryland and be world No. 1. What an achievement with Jonelle being world no. 2.
All I can say is that Desamoray (Des) and Mazetto (Eric) would be very very proud. What a journey and what an end to 2022 for Tim.
Read Tilly Berendt’s excellent report form the Press Conference and wrap up here: