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Gina Miles Earns World Cup Berth at Galway Downs CIC-W***

Gina Miles and McKinlaigh, World Equestrian Games veterans, qualified for the inaugural Eventing World Cup scheduled for Pau, France this October. Galway Downs hosted one of two United States qualifying events, a great opportunity for West Coast riders. Nineteen horses and riders vied for one of three World Cup invitations during the March 28-30 event.

Miles rode a very solid dressage test and found herself in third place. "He is really maturing," stated Davis of the nine year old Irish-bred gelding owned by Thom Schultz. "His dressage is much stronger." The second day, cross country, was run under the CIC format adopted by the FEI. This new format, which eliminates Roads and Tracks an the Steeplechase, will be used at the 2004 Olympics, as well as this year's inaugural World Cup. Miles and McKinlaigh posted a clear cross country round and were easily within the time.

The stadium jumping course faced the riders with a huge challenge. Under the new FEI specifications, the stadium phase at a CIC*** is now held at 4'3". This proved quite a challenge for most riders with only four of the riders posting clear rounds. Miles had an eleven point lead going into the final phase and she used up ten of those points with two rails down for eight faults and two time faults for exceeding the time allowed.

Olympian Jil Walton kept the pressure on Miles. Walton, aboard Truly Triton, was third after cross country with a score of 52.92. She was one of the four riders to jump clean around the stadium course and finished second. Miles held on to first place with a final score of 51.74.

Rounding out the top three was Jessica Heidemann riding French Twist, an appropriately named horse given that fact that she, Miles and Walton will all be representing the United States in France October 24-26. The top three riders from the Galway event will join the top placed American rider from the East Coast World Cup Qualifier at the World Cup.

Over 4500 spectators watched world class eventing competition at the Temecula based Galway Downs. Despite gale force winds, the crowd was not daunted and cheered for the horses and riders.

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