Adelaide (AUS), FEI Press Release, Nov 19, 2011:  With storm clouds threatening over the nearby Adelaide hills, Shane Rose kept his cool riding the HSBC FEI Classics™ debutante Taurus to come home clear Jumping and time to remain on his Dressage score moving from third to first place with 45.40 penalties.

“The secret is to have nice horses and to ride them well,” said Rose. “Taurus is a great horse and he is getting better. He was great today.”

Western Australian sheep farmer and Olympic silver medalist Sonja Johnson proved today that she is tough and is certainly no one horse wonder.

Her success with the Australian Stock Horse, Ringwould Jaguar, is now part of Olympic history, but she was back to her Cross Country best today riding the barely 16hh Thoroughbred gelding Parkiarrup Illict Liason by Made of Gold.

They posted the second of just two HSBC FEI Classics™ Cross Country clears. Their efforts have catapulted them from 11th after the Dressage phase to second place with 49.80 penalties. “He’s a fabulous little South Australian bred Thoroughbred and he bucked a lot of jockeys off before he came to me,” explained Sonja.

“He is fit and loves it out there. He is a great fun horse.” Sonja’s efforts are all the more remarkable, as she has only been able to ride since last August following a broken pelvis, the result of a riding accident.

Queensland lawyer Emma Mason came to the HSBC FEI Classics™ in Adelaide in great form with her Salute gelding, F1 Pharinelli, and again demonstrated the talent that saw them leading going into the final phase of the 4* last year only to see her hopes of victory dashed in the Jumping arena.

“I’m more confident this year going in to the Jumping. I’ve done the hard yards and I’ll ride him as well as I can.” In eighth place after the Dressage phase, they added just 3.2 time penalties to move into third place with 51.20.

New South Wales rider Natalie Blundell won the first Adelaide four* in 1999 and she is again within striking distance with Julie McLean and John Glen’s Thoroughbred gelding, Algebra. They moved from ninth to fourth place with the addition of 3.6 time penalties.

The only other rider to make it home with single digit time penalties was Megan Jones riding the Rustic Amber Thoroughbred gelding, Kirby Park All of a sudden adding 4 time penalties to head into the stadium Jumping in fourth place with 57.50.

The return of Kirby Park Irish Jester was not quite the fairy tale his many fans had hoped, with a run out at the much talked about and troublesome offset double of ducks at 24/25a spoiling a good story. Despite that, Jester came home well and is in 12th place, and given his good Jumping history may well move into the top ten after the final Jumping phase.

Stuart Tinney and Panamera jumped clear, but added 25.6 time penalties which has them in seventh place and with a lot of work to do to climb back to the top. Emma Scott incurred 20 Jumping penalties with Mustang to hold tenth place and was sadly eliminated riding Jenbern Monyana. Italian, Fabio Magni had one stop, but came home well riding Watermark Grayson to hold 18th place.

Almost one third of the field of 31 was either eliminated or retired on the difficult and twisty 6130m and 10mm 45sec HSBC FEI Classics™ track.

Course Designer Wayne Copping commented: “We have got to the level we have been working towards over the last three years. If they can jump this track, the riders have an idea of what they will encounter overseas. With so many new combinations to 4* level, I anticipated that some would not make it.

Having said that, 12 came home without any Jumping penalties and it is our aim to get them home. The two that went clear on both Jumping and time did a wonderful job.”

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 Adelaide leg: leaderboard after Cross Country
1 Shane Rose (AUS) Taurus 45.50
2 Sonja Johnson  (AUS) Parkiarrup Illict Liaison  49.80
3 Emma Mason (AUS)  FI Pharinelli  51.20
4 Natalie Blundell  (AUS) Algebra 51.90
5 Megan Jones  (AUS) Kirby Park Allofasudden 57.50
6 Christine Bates (AUS) Adelaide Hill  66.60
7 Stuart Tinney  (AUS) Panamera  70.10
8 Eleanor Osborne  (AUS) Mighty High 72.90
9 Bryce Newman  Bates (NZL) Trademark  73.90
10 Emma Scott  (AUS) Mustang  75.30

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 Leaderboard (after Pau)

1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 15
2 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 12
3 Mary King (GBR) 8
4 Nicolas Touzaint (FRA) 6
5 Lucy Wiegersma (GBR) 4
6 Christopher Burton (AUS) 3
7 Frank Ostholt (GER) 1

Full leaderboard can be viewed here.

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 calendar
1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) – 12-16 October 2011
2 Australian International 3 Day Event (AUS) – 18-20 November 2011
3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) –  26-29 April 2012
4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – 4-7 May 2012
5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* (GER) – 14-17 June 2012
6 The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) – 30 August-2 September 2012

Prize money
At the end of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected among the HSBC FEI Classics™ events will be awarded their share of a total prize fund of US$333,000 split as follows:

1st – US$150,000 (Series Champion)
2nd – US$75,000
3rd – US$50,000
4th – US$33,000
5th – US$25,000

HSBC Rankings
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) currently leads the HSBC Rankings by 13 points ahead of Mary King, who was the first rider to wear the HSBC armband when it was launched at the beginning of July this year. The rider at the top of the HSBC Rankings at the end of the 2011 Eventing season will receive a 50,000 USD bonus.

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