Mary King, in a superb display of cool horsemanship, finished first and second at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event and now has a convincing 10-point lead over Badminton winner Mark Todd (NZL) after the second leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™.
King, 49, who was third at Badminton last weekend on Imperial Cavalier, has made history as the first rider in modern times to win a CCI4* on a home-bred horse, Kings Temptress by Primitive Rising, coincidentally the sire of last year’s winner, Cool Mountain, out of King’s own mare Kings Mistress.
In addition, King joins an elite band of riders – Ian Stark (Badminton 1988), Mark Todd (Burghley 1987) and Blyth Tait (Burghley 1998) – to finish first and second at a CCI4*.
She jumped clear on both her horses, and, having ridden out of order on the Davies family’s 10-year-old Fernhill Urco, at his first CCI4*, had the luxury of knowing she was unbeatable before she entered the stadium on Derek Baden’s Kings Temptress.
“I relaxed a bit after going clear on Urco, but I managed to gee myself up to ride Kings Temptress, as it was so special to have the chance of winning on a horse I bred myself,” said King, who breaks another record as the oldest female rider to win a CCI4*.
“And I’m especially thrilled with my Rolex watch! It’s obviously a good spring for the ‘older’ riders, but the young ones shouldn’t give up yet!”
Sinead Halpin (USA), a former pupil of William Fox-Pitt, made a spectacular CCI4* debut, finishing third and best of the home side on Manoir de Carneville. Halpin’s former teacher and last year’s winner, William Fox-Pitt, moved up a place with a clear stadium round on Neuf des Coeurs to finish fourth.
Clayton Fredericks (AUS), another former Kentucky winner, was fifth on the mare Be My Guest, ahead of Oliver Townend, with ODT Sonas Rovatio.
1 Mary King/Kings Temptress 47.7
2 Mary King/Fernhill Urco 49.7
3 Sinead Halpin/Manoir de Carneville 53.1
4 William Fox-Pitt/Neuf des Coeurs 54.0
5 Clayton Fredericks/Be My Guest 57
6 Oliver Townend/ODT Sonas Rovatio 58.2
7 Jessica Phoenix/Exponential 60
8 Hannah Sue Burnett/St Barths 61.3
9 Boyd Martin/Remington XXV 61.4
10 Rebecca Howard/Riddle Master 68.5