0.2 penalties. That’s all the separated the top two on the leaderboard of the Galati Yacht Sales CCI4*-L at The Event at TerraNova.
Lucienne Bellissimo (GBR) saw her lead after dressage and cross country on Tremanton slip away Sunday by the narrowest of margins.
The British rider held a 0.2 penalty advantage over USA’s Jenny Caras and her go-to horse, Trendy Fernhill (aka, “Joey”) heading into the final show jumping phase. In a nail-biting stadium round, Caras (USA) and her bay Irish Sport Horse gelding, owned by Elyse Eisenberg, left all the fences in place but added 0.4 time penalties to their score.
“Because he’s such a big boy, at least 17 hands, the doubles and combinations are hard for Joey,” she explained.
“I definitely thought the triple bar, the two verticals and the triple at the end of the course were going to be hard for him. But I know what to expect, so I know how to ride him there and help him as best as I can, and he runs as hard as he can. He gives 125 percent, and to have produced him myself is just extra special.”
With less than a time fault in hand, Bellissimo and Tremanton, the final combination to contest course designer Marc Donovan’s track, needed a clear and only a clear. The bay Thoroughbred-cross mare left all the fences in the cups but stopped the clock one second slower. The pair added 0.8 time penalties to their score to finish on 35.5 and second to Caras’s 35.3.
If Bellissimo was disappointed to lose the lead, she didn’t let on.
“From the bottom of my heart I couldn’t be more proud of her. She hadn’t yet jumped clear in show jumping at 4*, so today was a real pivotal moment to feel her try that hard in the ring, especially after being such a brave and good girl yesterday on cross-country.”
The victory is Caras’s third this season with Joey. The pair won CCI3*-S events at Fairburn, GA in March and October.
Olympian Will Coleman finished third with Diabolo on 38 penalties.