`Custom' regains Fair Hill lead

Equestrian

October 27, 2002|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FAIR HILL - David O'Connor, a gold medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, rode Custom Made back into the lead in the U.S. Equestrian Team Fall Eventing Championship at the Fair Hill International yesterday.

Meanwhile, Fred Merriam, the individual bronze medalist at the 2002 World Singles Driving Championship, drove a clean cones course to maintain his lead in the USA National Single Horse Driving Championship.

O'Connor has announced that this year's Fair Hill International is the final competition for Custom Made, a 17-year-old thoroughbred owned by Xandarius LLC. Custom Made finished yesterday's cross country with a two-phase total of 44.61 penalties.

"This is really an amazing weekend for me," he said. "It's been a storybook career with Custom Made, and all I really wanted was for him to have a great weekend and go out in good form."

Standing second with 46.80 penalties after riding penalty-free on cross country is 21-year-old Will Faudree and his family's 13-year-old Australian Thoroughbred. Close behind is Heidi White, who also went clean on cross country and has a score of 48.41 on Northern Spy, her 9-year-old English Thoroughbred.

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