McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, Nicole Simpson Lurking Close Behind Ward
San Juan Capistrano , CA - It was a perfect day in Southern California . Perfectly blue sky, perfect temperature, perfect setting for an Olympic Trials, and perfect green turf in an impressive Show Jumping arena at Oaks Blenheim in San Juan Capistrano .
For PeterWylde and Fein Cera; Todd Minikus and Gardenio; and Beezie Madden and Judgement; it got even better when they turned in prefect trips in the fourth round of the 2004 Olympic Show Jumping Selection Trials. For Wylde and the elegant Fein Cera, who showed everyone just how it should be done today, it meant grabbing the overall lead in the trials with a cumulative total for the four trials of just 4 faults.
“She's as good and fresh as I've ever had her. I really felt the intense pressure today,” said Wylde. “It's a great venue with a great crowd and great energy, I felt it. The time allowed was deathly tight, but . . . in the Olympic Games we'll have to handle it.”
Fourth to go today was Hap Hansen who after his trip described the course as “Big. Tough. Huge. It has difficult striding from fence #5 to the water jump and of course the triple. It has the red, white and blue stripes on it and it's difficult to judge.” As the class progressed, the most problematic part of the course was indeed after the gallop to the water jump after which riders had to check sharply for fence #7, a one-stride combination. The rail at 7A came down repeatedly throughout the class.
Clare Bronfman had a difficult day moving far down the standings after accumulating 16 faults on Katerina for a total of 24, and 31 faults on Irco Sun, who stopped at the challenging fence 7A, for a four trial total of 35 faults.
As it stands now the leaders after the four trials are Wylde (4 faults), McClain Ward and Sapphire (5 faults), Madden on De Silvio (7 faults), Madden on Authentic (8 faults), Lauren Hough and Clasiko (9 faults), Nicole Simpson and El Campeon's So Long (10 faults).
Ward said of Sapphire and his strategy today, “I'm lucky to have a great horse that helps me out a little bit. I wanted to focus on jumping first, time second.”
Going into today's fourth trial Beezie Madden and Authentic were tied with Wylde at four cumulative faults, but they pulled a rail and finished with four faults today, and eight overall. Her clean round today on Judgement leaves the duo with 17 faults overall. Beezie and her third mount, De Silvio, had just two time faults prior to Trial #4 and had yet to pull any rails. However, when one came down today and with one time fault, they ended up with five faults for their total of 7 for all four trials.
After today's clean round, Minikus and Gardenio have 21 cumulative faults for all four trials.
Joining McClain Ward with just one time fault were Lauren Hough and Clasiko; Nicole Simpson on El Campeon's So Long. Simpson gave high praise to course designer Leopoldo Palacios, “Leopoldo does a masterful job. Each trial it's more challenging, more scopey, every round he's increased the challenge and it's going to get tough. It's going to get down to the last trial and the last horse.”