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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 27/10/2019.
Shane Rose and Virgil travelled from Australia for the event
Kirsty Pasto

Australian Riders Jump Up The Leaderboard Following Cross Country at Les 5 étoiles de Pau

The Australian combinations competing at Les 5 étoiles de Pau CCI5*-L in France have leapt up the leaderboard following the cross country phase of the competition this afternoon.

The Pierre Michelet designed course proved tough catching many riders out early, with a total of thirteen combinations not completing the course. The first rider on course from Australia was High Performance Gold Squad member Shane Rose riding his WEG 2018 mount, Virgil.

Shane and Virgil flew around the course in style and were one of the first combinations to return with no jumping penalties and close to the optimum time, picking up only 1.6 time penalties.

“I was really happy with him we just started off a little cautiously. I don’t think anyone had gone close to the time, the plan was just to jump all the jumps and take care of that and if the times doable, naturally I go quick enough, so it was only after about 3 minutes when I got through the first waters and thought I would go a bit faster. He was really good throughout the course. The ground was getting probably a little bit holding and was just taking it a little bit out of him towards the end. Hopefully he pulls up well in the morning and he jumps as he can” recalls Shane of the round.

Shane and Virgil have made the journey across the globe to the event from his home base in NSW, Australia just got the event.

“I am really, really pleased with Virgil. The preparation back home was perfect unfortunately things didn’t go quite to plan when he arrived over here. He feels 100% now, it is hard coming over because of the flight and it is 5 weeks since I have had a run on him, a couple of things we planned when we arrived ended up getting shelved due to things out of our control. He has come out of that and has got better and better since we have been in France and I am certainly really pleased with him today and he is feeling strong, and hopefully we can jump well tomorrow” explains Shane.

Isabel English and Feldale Mouse were the next Australian combination to take to the course. ‘Mouse’, always a crowd favourite, is a Connemara X TB and was part of the Australian Team ridden by Isabel at Aachen this year who placed third in the Nations Cup event. The pair incurred 20 jumping penalties as well as time which saw them drop only one place after cross country.

Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam leapt up the leaderboard in style with an impressive cross country round. No jumping penalties saw them move from 15th to 6th position.

“I was really happy with my horse, he improved as he went. He started out ballooning the fences so I found it a little difficult to make up the distances so I ended up adding, so by the time I got out in the middle of the racecourse I had lost quite a bit of time and I couldn’t quite make it up again. He finished really well and I was really happy with him as a whole. I think overall he is a really nice horse and going forward he is an exciting horse.

I have never been around a track that long with him so I was a little bit careful to make sure I had some petrol left in the tank, towards the end when I closed my leg he took off like a bullet, so maybe I should have done that a bit earlier” laughs Kevin.

However, the highest placed Australian rider for the event so far is the formidable Chris Burton riding mighty mare Quality Purdey who now sit in third place moving into tomorrows showjumping phase. 

Chris and ‘Purdey’ were all class cross country with a smooth round incurring no jumping faults and only 2 time penalties.

“She was flying, she is really amazing, she runs and jumps and wants to do the job more than any horse I have ever known I think. The ground is good but it is not very fast which is why it was difficult for the riders to make the time today. 

We have been ticking along doing the odd short format with her and looking after her. She broke a pedal bone at Aachen last year and it recovered quite well and it just kept getting better and better all year and we said why don’t we take her to Pau and get qualified for Tokyo” said Chris.

The competition continues tomorrow with the showjumping phase.

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