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London calling

This month, SoCal venue Galway Downs will be a key step for prospective Olympic eventers

By JOHN STRASSBURGER for the Horsetrader - March 1st, 2012 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

TEMECULA — Jolie Wentworth showed that her veteran campaigner Killian O’Connor has returned to full form, winning the open intermediate division at the Galway Downs Winter Horse Trials in Temecula on Feb. 3-5.

The 30-year-old rider from Martinez, who also claimed fifth place on GoodKnight in the highly competitive open intermediate division, outdueled Canadian Olympic veteran and Temecula resident Hawley Bennett-Awad, who took second on Five O’Clock Somewhere, her mount at last year’s Pan Am Games. In third was Katie Groesbeck on Oz The Tin Man, and Kristi Nunnink finished fourth on R-Star.

Killian O’Connor’s victory in his first event of 2012 is significant to Wentworth, who is aiming both horses for a shot at this year’s Olympic Games in London. Last November, she rode GoodKnight to a close second in the CCI3* at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event, but Killian O’Connor missed most of the 2011 season with an injury.

The road to London will go next through the Galway Downs International Horse Trials on March 29-April 1 and then on to the Olympic selection trial at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event four weeks later.

“I’ve been riding at Galway Downs ever since I was a teen-ager, and it’s always a definite event for me,” said Wentworth. “The February event is a great warm-up, and the international event is intense. It has all the atmosphere you need to get ready, and the jumps are big and imposing. I don’t have the funds to go the East Coast to prepare for Kentucky, so I’m so grateful I have Galway Downs as a lead-up to it.”

Killian O’Connor won the dressage phase at Galway Downs (28.4) and then added just 0.8 time penalties on the cross-country course, finishing with a faultless show jumping round. GoodKnight also jumped clear in show jumping, but Wentworth rode him more conservatively around the cross-country course, to finish with 6.4 time penalties.

Erin Kellerhouse, of Temecula, rode Cheryl Reynolds’ Roxabelle to win the open preliminary division, also adding just 0.8 cross-country time faults, to edge Barbara Crabo on Over Easy.

Reynolds bred Roxabelle, a 9-year-old bay, Thoroughbred-cross by Sharp Victor of PepperOaks Farm and out of her own mare, Christie. She foaled and currently lives at KingsWay Farm, owned by Terry and Linda Paine. Reynolds continues to foxhunt her mare with the Santa Fe Hounds, where Terry Paine is MFH. Roxabelle has two half-siblings also at KingsWay Farm, Flirtini and Rockit Man. Last year, Roxabelle finished the season in fourth place nationwide and was first in Area VI (California) in the Open Preliminary division.

Kellerhouse is also aiming Roxabelle for the Galway Downs International Horse Trials. Her husband, Robert Kellerhouse, is the organizer of all the Galway Downs events.

The Galway Downs International Horse Trials begins on Thursday, March 29, with the horse inspection at 3 p.m. Dressage will get underway at 8 a.m. on Friday, with show jumping starting at 1 p.m. on Friday, culminating with the CIC3*.

Then the decisive cross-country phase, designed for the sixth year by British Olympic medalist Ian Stark, will run on Saturday, climaxing with the CIC3* field starting on course in reverse order of their two-phase standing. The awards ceremony and a catered dinner in the ringside tent will follow at 6 p.m.
But the Galway Downs International Horse Trials won’t be completely finished on Saturday, because on Sunday morning the preliminary, intermediate and advanced divisions will wrap up their weekend with show jumping, while the novice and training divisions will jump around their cross-country courses.

The Galway Downs International Horse Trials is a member event of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series, which includes seven of the top eventing competitions all around the United States. Horses and riders earn points together as a pair at the designated Gold Cup events to determine the annual series winners. A victory is worth 200 points, and horses and riders can also earn bonus points at each event: 50 bonus points for double-clear cross-country rounds, and 40 bonus points for double-clear show jumping rounds.

General admission for the Galway Downs International Horse Trials is $8 per day in advance, $10 at the gate. VIP tickets—which include seating in the ringside tent, lunch and a full selection of beverages—are also available for $55 per day in advance. Advance reservations are available at www.galwaydowns.com.

The Galway Downs International Three-Day Event will take place Nov. 1-4.

More results: See website http://bit.ly/123A_Galway

One comment has been made on “London calling”

  1. Cheryl Reynolds Says:

    I am the owner of Roxabelle, not Roxabella, although I do like that version. Several facts are incorrect about Roxabelle’s breeding that need to be clarified for the record. She was bred not by Linda and Terry Paine (correct spelling) rather by myself. Roxabelle is by Sharp Victor from PepperOaks Farm out of Christie (my mare). She foaled at KingsWay Farm which is owned by the Paines and where she currently lives. Roxabelle has two half-siblings also at KingsWay Farm: Flirtini (3) and Rockit Man (2). Last year, Roxabelle finished the season in 4th place nationwide and in 1st place in Area VI (CA) in the Open Preliminary division. Kind regards, Cheryl Reynolds

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