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Strong Field of International Riders Prepare for Competition at Galway Downs

by By Chris Stafford | Mar 31, 2005, 9:09 AM

Riders from Germany, Canada and Mexico will be competing against some 300 U.S. entries at the Galway Downs International Horse Trials, Temecula, CA, April 1-3, 2005. The FEI World Cup Qualifier (CIC***-W) has a strong field of 16 riders, including Natalie Rooney Pitts, of Napa, CA, who finished eighth at last year’s qualifier with Aladdin to make the finals. Lauren Whitlock, of Rohnert Park, CA, who came fifth aboard Kipling last year will also be back, as will James Moore who, in 2004, finished seventh. This time Moore, from Denver, CO, will be riding the 13-year-old Trakhener mare, Herzjuwel. The FEI (International Equestrian Federation) World Cup event is a series of qualifying competitions, which take place around the world. This year’s final will be held in Malmo, Sweden, August 11-14.

Also vying for a ticket to the World Cup Final in Sweden in August aboard Belair is Ann Glaus. Glaus will be up against the experienced Canadian Olympic team member in Athens, Hawley Bennett, who could have a hometown advantage since she trains across the street from Galway Downs. There will no doubt be local support for another Olympian, Jil Walton, from Claremont, CA, who is returning for the third time with Liza Jane MacNaughton’s 13-year-old Thoroughbred, Truly Triton, to ride in the FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Also making another run in the FEI World Cup Qualifier is Menlo Park native, Andrew Temkin, with his nine-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding, Bucephalas. Stephanie Cooper from Hobart, WA, also had a practice run last year when she won the National Championship CCI** aboard her then 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Kaelen. The pair will be back this spring in the World Cup Qualifier.

There is an increase of entries from 2004 in the CIC** & CIC* competitions, which include Gina Miles, who finished fourth last year in the FEI World Cup Qualifier with McKinlaigh. The horse on which she came third in the 2003 final in Pau, France. This year her partner will be Phillipa in the CIC** division.

This year’s event, organized by Robert Kellerhouse and Del Mar Eventing, which feature a total of twelve divisions, is a welcome return to the spring calendar for riders on the West Coast. As well as the showcase international classes, riders in these classes will also be competing for points in the prestigious USEA Gold Cup Series. The United States Eventing Association (USEA) Gold Cup Series is based on a cumulative points structure. Competitors are awarded points for various overall placings, as well as other competitive accomplishments during each Gold Cup event. This structure is designed to add additional excitement to championship contention throughout the year.

In 2004 seven of the top events in the U.S. signed on to offer Gold Cup divisions. The four on the East started in Florida in March and headed up the coast to end in Massachusetts in August. The three premier events in the West, scattered from the beginning of spring through mid-summer, were pivotal in the year-end standings with California-based rider Lauren Whitlock securing the title of 2004 USEA Gold Cup Series Champion at the advanced level.

For more information, visit www.galwaydowns.com.~~~