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November 3, 2012

Alliston Aces Galway Downs Cross-Country Test

James Alliston and Tivoli's double-clear cross-country trip boosted them from fifth place to first in the Galway Downs CCI*** on a score of 49.4 penalties.

Temecula, Calif.—Nov. 3

There’s no doubt that James Alliston has an excellent Galway Downs streak going. Alliston won the three-star here last fall with Jumbo’s Jake, and he also won the CIC*** this spring with “Jake.” Then today, Alliston jumped himself in the first- and second-placed positions after cross-country in the CCI***, with Tivoli and Jake, respectively.

But while Alliston might be the most successful man at Galway this weekend, he was definitely the busiest this afternoon; he was sitting on three out of 12 three-star starters.

“The first two were the most tiring,” said Alliston, who’s based in Castro Valley, Calif., but still rides for his native Great Britain. “[Jake] you have to kick a lot, and I was winded after that one. Then Parker was quite strong, and I was quite winded after that. The last one was good, so it was good to finish with him.”

Alliston finished up the day by garnering only 0.8 time penalties with all three rides combined. Parker jumped double clear to move up from 11th after dressage to seventh, Jake’s 0.8 time penalty trip moved him up from sixth to second (52.6), and Tivoli’s double-clear vaulted him from fifth to first on 49.4 penalties. But despite his past successes here, Alliston didn’t take any of his rides for granted.

“Although Jake won last year, he hasn’t been going terribly well leading up to it, to be honest,” said Alliston. “The Tivoli horse is probably going to be my best horse down the line, but this was his first CCI***, so he was a bit of an unknown as well. The dressage is not always very clever with Parker. I knew I had very good jumpers, so I was looking forward to it, but I didn’t necessarily expect to be ahead of affairs at the end of the day.”

Ian Stark’s course proved taxing for the three-star field. Canada’s Hawley Bennett-Awad put in a double-clear trip with her first ride, Gin & Juice, but then had a fall off Five O’Clock Somewhere at fence 20. Phillip Dutton and Atlas, second after dressage, picked up 20 penalties at fence 11A, the first of a trio of angled brushes. Pam Fisher retired Sea Lion after one stop at fence 16, the third water complex, and John Michael Durr parted ways with Warrick at fence 6. Mckenna Shea took a spill of Landioso at fence 16 as well. Of the eight finishers, just three turned in fault-free efforts—Alliston’s Tivoli and Parker and Bennett-Awad’s Gin & Juice. No injuries were reported throughout any of the day's divisions.

Though his 6.8 time penalties with Schoensgreen Hanni moved dressage leader Michael Pollard down to third, he was still pleased with his ride.

“She wouldn’t be the most Thoroughbred horse in the world,” said Pollard, Dalton, Ga. “She missed some galloping with the whole heart situation, but she was still feeling really good. I knew if I could ride the fences well, she would try to jump them. I couldn’t have gotten much closer to the time than I did today. She’s just not an easy horse to get the time on, but overall I’m really happy with her.”

Tivoli, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Guidam—Zacharia, Roeland), was originally campaigned by Great Britain’s Oliver Townend, and the gelding won the Woodside CIC*** (Calif.) with Alliston in October. Before yesterday’s dressage test, Alliston didn’t pick up the trot with Tivoli until he was going around the outside of the competition ring.

“He didn’t pan out straight out away,” said Alliston. “I did one prelim, and it was frightening, and then I didn’t show him for a year and a half, and then we got going. He’s a bit different, that horse. The more you do with him, the worse he gets, even at home. In all the phases, I just don’t warm him up. I work him a lot in the morning, and then canter right as I go in the ring, and by the end he’s waking up a little bit.”

Show jumping for the CCI*** begins at 2:45 p.m. tomorrow.

Billys Makes Every Second Count In Two-Star

Lauren Billys was determined to have a good fall three-day cross-country experience with Ballingowan Ginger this year. At last year’s Pan American Games (Mexico), Billys, who rides for Puerto Rico but is based in Visalia, Calif., and “Ginger” took a tumble three fences from home. But Billys’ jumping clear today in the two-star was never in doubt, and her 1.6 time penalties moved her up from third after dressage to the lead on 50.8 penalties.

“I was kind of nervous going out,” said Billys. “I really wanted to redeem myself. She was great in all the combinations. She was a bit bold in a few places, and she got us into a little trouble, but she also got us out. That was about as fast as I could have gone. She really pulled it out today.”

Dressage leaders Barbara Crabo and Over Easy picked up 8 time penalties to drop to third, and Jennifer McFall and High Times maintained their second-placed standing after earning 6 time penalties. McFall will show jump tomorrow on a score of 54.0.

“He’s a younger horse with not a lot of experience, and this is his first two-star,” said McFall. “He was super. We started out a little quiet to set the pace, and then we just ran really well and had an awesome round. He really never questioned anything and just went.”

Twenty-five of 29 CCI** starters finished, with 11 pairs putting in double-clear trips. Three pairs picked up stops at fence 15, and two pairs earned 20 penalties each at fence 13.

Roxabelle Rocks One-Star

The top of the leaderboard remained largely unchanged in the CCI*. Dressage leaders Erin Kellerhouse and Roxabelle retained their first-placed standing with a double-clear trip, to stand on 40.6 penalties. Julie Flettner and Ping Pong stayed in second (42.5), also with a faultless round. Out of the 48 starters in the one-star cross-country, 42 finished and 25 came home with no additional penalties.

“She was really good,” said Kellerhouse of Roxabelle, a 9-year-old mare owned by Cheryl Reynolds. “It felt easy and like a really good preparation for intermediate. I thought the course was very friendly for the horses and a good preparation for the next step. It was super gallopy and got the horses thinking super forward. I think it was technically a little easier than it has been here in the past, but it was nice. I really enjoyed riding it.” 

Full results available online

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