Fredericks repeat two star win at Red Hills
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Sara Kozumplik Murphy could hardly wait for the two star finale in the Red Hills Horse Trials that she was up at dawn Sunday stretching her horse. She even laid out a game plan in an attempt to upend Clayton Fredericks going into stadium jumping.
What unfolded was an intense showdown fitting for bringing the curtain down on the event in front of a large crowd at Elenor Klapp-Phipps Park.
In the end, Fredericks had a clean round and maintained his 44.5-point lead aboard Houdini to clinch his second straight victory in the division.
“No matter what happens when you in the lead and you’re going to go into show jumping, the pressure is on,” Fredericks said. “You just have to focus on one thing at a time and keep the whole thing in good rhythm and good balance.”
He certainly did that for his second victory on the weekend. Earlier in the day, he rallied FE Black Ice from second place after Saturday’s grueling cross country to a flawless performance in stadium jumping to win the open preliminary division.
Fredericks also was third in the two star aboard FE Ophelia with a 50.4 score.
Both Kozumplik Murphy and Fredericks came in with horses that they are riding for the first year. Just a fraction of a point separated them and Kozumplik Murphy got up early to prepare to take her best shot at upending Fredericks.
She figured her chances were better-than-average, considering that Ruben D’Ysieux had given her a ride good enough to win a $15,000 event just four days earlier. But they ended up with a 44.80 score.
However, she wasn’t disappointed.
“I’ve never had a horse that was really good in all three phases and he is,” she said. “I was definitely confident coming into this phase than I would on any other horse.”