Tim Price Poised for Victory at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory

Tim Price Poised for Victory at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory
Hannah Sue Hollberg Maintains Lead in USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship

Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland – October 15, 2022 – World #1 ranked rider Tim Price (NZL) and Coup De Coeur Dudevin have moved into the lead following Saturday’s cross-country phase at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. Price, a two-time Olympic veteran, coached Jean-Louis Stauffer’s 10-year-old Selle Français stallion faultlessly around the horse’s first 5 Star track to maintain their dressage score of 27.4.

Rounding out the top three are two more Olympic veterans on first-time 5 Star horses. Tamie Smith, U.S. Team Silver medalist at this summer’s FEI Eventing World Championships, moved into second place with Ruth Bley’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito following their double-clear cross-country round, maintaining their dressage score of 29.4. World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR) is not far behind, having finished the course on his dressage score of 29.9 aboard John Peace’s 11-year-old Spanish gelding As Is.

The MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory, one of only two 5 Star level equestrian events of its kind in the United States and just the seventh worldwide, returns to the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, MD, October 13-16. The event’s prestigious 5 Star (CCI5*-L) designation is the pinnacle of the Olympic sport of Eventing, often described as an equestrian triathlon.

In addition to the 5 Star competition (CCI5*-L), the event also features a 3 Star competition (CCI3*-L), which serves as the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship, and The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry of Ireland. The four days of eventing competition feature Dressage (Thu-Fri), Cross-Country (Sat) showcasing Ian Stark-designed courses, and Show Jumping (Sun).

World #1 Tim Price (NZL) and Coup De Coeur Dudevin have claimed the lead in the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

Course designer Ian Stark revamped his courses after getting a better feel for the terrain at last year’s inaugural event. The CCI5*-L featured 45 total jumping efforts over a 6,555-meter track and presented many technically difficult questions to the competitors, but 13 entries were able to finish clear within the 11.5-minute optimum time.

“I was a little bit nervous and wondered if it was the right thing to bring a newer horse all the way across the world,” Price said. “There’s a lot on the line, from the owner’s investments to the work we put in ourselves. But I always believed in the horse, and today was the perfect experience for him. We had good conditions, a great course, and something I could just try to give him a good education over.

“I was just riding that balance the whole way,” he continued. “He jumped beautifully, took his own initiative through the crab water and made a better decision than me, and that’s what makes this a mark for the top. Nine minutes in, he was still able to have the presence of mind to make a good decision and to keep thinking forward. I’m very proud of him.”

Tamie Smith (USA) and Danito have moved into second place in the CCI5*-L. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

“He had a freak accident in the barn in January, so he really didn’t have a spring season,” Smith said. “I was hoping to actually have him as a contender for the World Championships, but his first event back was in July. He was great for that event but not the fittest.

“To have him go out today and step up was great,” she added. “With these 5 Star horses, you just never know. He’s knocking on five percent of the blood, which can be a lot of work on the rider when the horse doesn’t have enough puff at the end, but he sure did. I’m super happy with him. He was a little bit green coming out, but everything on the course was right there.”

World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR) and As Is sit third in the CCI5*-L. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

“I thought the course was fabulous,” Townend said. “With all the distances, you had to make a decision and make it happen. I couldn’t have been happier with how my horse grew in confidence. When you’ve got hopefully a good jockey and a good horse, that’s what you should see with a first-time 5 Star horse. Mine definitely came out for the run and gained confidence as he went. By the end of it, he felt like a proper 5 Star horse. He’s a careful jumper, and I’ve been very happy with the whole thing.”

Despite changes across the leaderboard in the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on Saturday, the top three maintained their placings, including overnight leader Hannah Sue Hollberg (USA). Hollberg finished the cross-country phase on her dressage score of 26.0 aboard Christa Schmidt’s 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding Capitol HIM.

Hannah Sue Hollberg (USA) and Capitol HIM maintain their lead in the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

“I was really lucky to get on Lukeswell first in the 3 Star,” Hollberg said. “He’s a really good cross-country horse, so I got to feel my way around the course with him. He gave me a really good ride. When I got on Capitol HIM, he was really good, too, but quite a different ride from Lukeswell. He’s got one or two speeds rather than being a really quick, nippy horse. To ride quick, I had to be very accurate and wasn’t completely, but he made up for it. He was great.”

Fellow Americans Elisa Wallace and Cassie Sanger also finished on their dressage scores to hold second and third place, respectively. Wallace maintains her score of 26.4 with Renkum Corsair, the Corsair Syndicate’s 12-year-old Anglo-European gelding. Sanger and Nina Sanger’s 14-year-old Anglo-European gelding Fernhill Zoro retain their score of 26.6.

Elisa Wallace (USA) and Renkum Corsair hold second place in the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

“He’s a fairly new ride,” Wallace said. “I’ve had him since end of January, early February. He came from over in England and was produced by a young rider who moved him from the 1.45m show jumping into eventing. When I took a look at him, he was a pretty cool horse and seemed like he had a lot of potential.

“I kind of got teary-eyed after dressage,” she added. “To finally figure him out and to get our partnership to this level is great. He is a very different ride to the Thoroughbreds that I normally ride, but to be able to come here to Maryland and get that atmosphere we don’t normally get, it was a really good experience for me and the horse.”

Cassie Sanger (USA) and Fernhill Zoro maintain third in the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship. © Shannon Brinkman Photography

“It’s obviously very exciting,” said Sanger, who is in line for a podium finish in her first CCI3*-L. “I’ve had Fernhill Zoro for less than a year, but he’s been with our barn and my coach’s program for about seven years, so I know him very well. So far, it’s been pretty incredible. We earned a new personal best on the flat, and today he went around double clear. He’s a young rider’s horse through and through, so you just have to let him do his thing. He’s incredible.”

Feeling just as much pressure as the competitors in the field, course designer Ian Stark was pleased with everyone’s results at the end of the day.

“What’s made my day is that our top three are riding first-time 5 Star horses,” Stark said. “Those horses are incredibly lucky to have three of the best riders in the world. They were magnificent in how they rode the young horses and helped them, and as Tim (Price) said, the young horse was able to help him. For me, that’s a highlight of why I do this; it was amazing to watch.

“I might get a little abuse for having so many inside the time today,” he added, “but for me, it was perfect footing, perfect ground, some bold and brave and great riding. I would much rather see ten riders inside the time than five on the floor. I can live with having so many come inside the time. And it puts a little more pressure on the riders since the results are so close going into show jumping.”

Sunday’s Second Horse Inspection will start at 8:30 a.m. with the 3 Star entries. Show jumping begins at 10:15 a.m. for the CCI3*-L and 2:00 p.m. for the CCI5*-L.
For live results, visit Hippo Data.

The entire CCI5* is available via livestream through USEF Network in North America and Horse & Country outside North America. USEF Network is also providing exclusive coverage of the CCI3*. Links to all livestreams, including information on a discount for USEF memberships are available on the event’s website via How to Watch.

Maryland Public Television (MPT) is broadcasting the event live throughout all four days of competition. The schedule of live and recorded coverage is as follows:

  • Thursday, October 13: Live coverage of Dressage, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 14: Live coverage of Dressage, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 15: MPT Sports Desk, 1:30-2:00 p.m., followed by live coverage of Cross-Country from 2:00-4:00 p.m.; and an encore broadcast 8:00-10:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 16: Live coverage of Show Jumping and awards, 2:00-3:30 p.m.; and an encore broadcast 6:00-8:00 p.m.

    MPT’s coverage will also be livestreamed to the network’s regional audience at mpt.org/livestream.

Additionally, ESPN3 will provide coverage of Sunday’s CCI5* final day of action.