It was a time fault that likely haunted Emily Ward’s dreams last night.
Leading the U25 Division after Thursday’s Round 1, the $5,000 Canoe Financial U25 1.35m, Ward (GBR) and Evita returned Friday to post a second brilliant clear in Friday’s $5,000 Trademark Stables & Friends U25 1.40m. But a steady ride down the last line put them .98 seconds over the 72 second time allowed, eliciting a hand-to-helmet head shake from a disappointed Ward.
Course designer Joey Rycroft’s time test also caught Sara Tindale (CAN) and Djibab van de Linthorst and Ashley Arnoldt (CAN) and Lestat OLD.
Kept out of the five-horse jump off, Ward now slides into second on the U25 Leaderboard.
While Ward lamented a tardy finish, Jenna Lee Gottschlich’s (CAN) was finding a new gear aboard her Evita P. Building on Thursday’s fifth place finish, the U of Alberta student and her veteran partner made the biggest move up the Leaderboard, jumping from fifth to first with a brilliant double clear.
“[In yesterday’s $5,000 Canoe Financial U25 1.35m], Evita P went forward, and I found a completely new gear in her canter when going fast. I didn’t know she could go that fast. I’d never gone that fast before,” said Gottschlich.
“I was told by my coach [Lisa Carlsen] to leave a stride out in the first line [of the jump-off], and we galloped down [the line] and got it done. That’s where I made up a lot of time. I kept cantering to the third jump, and everything just showed up, and [Evita P] kept trying harder and harder. She digs so deep. She’s my horse of a lifetime, for sure.”
The only other rider in the top five to post a double clear in Friday’s Round 2, Kassidy Keith (CAN) climbs from fourth to third on the U25 Leaderboard with Havana, while Makayla Barta (CAN) and Carly Stevens (CAN) each slipped two spots. Barta and Cohinoor 4 fell from second to fourth; Stevens and VIP des Majuros, from third to fifth.
With double the money on the line in Sunday’s $10,000 U25 1.40m, the $1,000 U25 Division Champion bonus is still anyone’s game.