Allentown, N.J., May 12
The results from today’s cross-country in the Jersey Fresh CCI*** shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper’s short career this spring. The pair held onto their lead in the three-star when they jumped clean over John Williams’ course.
Although Dutton said yesterday that he would only go as fast as “Whisper” was comfortable with, he finished just 3 seconds over the optimum time of 10 minutes, leaving him with a score of 33.8.
“My main goal was to jump around clean,” Dutton, 48, reiterated after cross-country. “I went at a speed I thought would be appropriate for jumping the jumps and keeping him confident. I ended a bit quicker than I thought it would be.”
Dutton, West Grove, Pa., said he wasn’t sure how Whisper, a 12-year-old Australian-bred Warmblood (Richmeed Medallion—Socialite, Salute), would handle the longer distance.
“I wasn’t quite sure what he’d be like on those last couple minutes, but he didn’t change at all,” said Dutton.
Whisper and Dutton’s partnership in all three phases this spring leaves their future looking bright for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Since Dutton started riding the horse at the end of the 2011, he’s won both the Red Hills Horse Trials CIC*** (Fla.) and The Fork Horse Trials CIC*** (N.C.).
After a good recovery in the vet box, Dutton said Whisper is fit and ready for show jumping. Dutton has a rail in hard for tomorrow’s phase.
“I think he’s very proud of himself,” Dutton said. “He’s got a great look in his eye tonight.”
Karen O’Connor maintained her second place with Veronica, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Pacific—Kimbel, Ferro) owned by Team Rebecca LLC, adding only 2 time penalties for a score of 41.6.
Two weeks ago O’Connor, The Plains, Va., fell off Veronica, one of her hopeful mounts for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, early on the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** cross-country course when the mare took a big leap into a water complex.
“I’m really, really happy about Veronica today,” said O’Connor, 54. “It didn’t back her up or lose her confidence when I fell off at Kentucky.”
Watch clips from today’s cross-country:
In third place, Michael Pollard and Jude’s Law, an 11-year-old Irish-bred (Coevers Diamond Boy—Coolreagh Lady), tackled the course and earned a double-clear finish.
Pollard, 31, said “Jude” makes the cross-country feel easy, and the team finished 20 seconds under the optimum time. Pollard’s other mount, Schoensgreen Hanni, did not pass the first jog and was eliminated before the competition began. She’s been rerouted to the Bromont CCI*** in Quebec, Canada, in early June.
“I still don’t know why she didn’t pass the jog, to be honest,” said Pollard, Dalton, Ga. “I think she would have gone really well here. I didn’t totally agree, but you win some, you lose some.”
Five of the 15 CCI*** horse-and-rider teams that jumped cross-country today finished under the time (Pollard and Jude’s Law, Selena O’Hanlon on Colombo, Buck Davidson on Ballynoecastle RM, Stephen Bradley on Leyland and Michele Mueller on Amistad). Ten of the 15 made it around without jumping penalties. Kadi Eykamp retired after picking up two stops on Double Rivers Dillon, but all other starters finished.
Howard Rises To The Top Of The CIC***
The placings for the CIC*** division changed dramatically after the cross-country phase. Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master launched into the top spot with only 0.4 time penalties added to their dressage score for a current penalty score of 48.8.
Clark Montgomery, who had occupied the top spot after dressage, dropped to ninth place after a run out and 13.6 time penalties on Universe ended his day with a score of 74.4.
Howard, 33, said she was proud of Riddle Master, an 11-year old Bavarian Warmblood who was her partner for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.), because he continues improving each time they go on course.
“He was quite happy to be out actually,” she said. “All the tough stuff felt really good.”
Howard, who hopes to be picked for the Canadian Olympic team, is currently located at The Fork in Norwood, N.C., but she plans to relocate to Great Britain at the end of the summer.
In second place, Will Faudree and Pawlow jumped a double-clean round for a current score of 49.4. Faudree, 30, said the gelding, a 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Marcuzzi—B.C. Illusion, Levantos) owned by Jennifer Mosing, jumped really well around the twisting course.
“When we walked it, we all got a little dizzy,” Faudree said, “but it rode really nice.”
Sinead Halpin, Pittstown, N.J., and Manoir de Carneville, a 12-year-old Selle Francais (Gaub—Carneville, Matador Du Bois) owned by Carrig LLC, moved up from sixth to third after cross-country with her double-clear round, one of only three in the division.
Halpin hadn’t planned on coming to Jersey Fresh until last week, but a trip to Rolex Ketucky a few weeks ago made her eager to get a very fit Tate competing again.
“I was planning on going to The Fork and then giving him some down time,” she explained. “I went to Rolex and thought, ‘These guys are so good’—the Americans, the Brits, the Aussies, the Kiwis. They’re all good.”
Halpin, 30, said she needs to get “Tate” more practice in the dressage ring. “I came here with the mindset that if the ground wasn’t good enough, I wouldn’t run,” she said.
After walking the course and being satisfied with the turf, Halpin decided to run Tate. “He felt really good. He loves his job, and he loves it more every time he goes out. Now he really looks at the fences and gets excited. If I just get him out there, he’ll try his heart out.”
Hannah Burnett retired Harbour Pilot, who was in second after dressage, after two refusals early on course. Canada’s Micheline Jordan came off of Irish Diamonds at the water complex, ending their trip around the course. Faudree also fell from his younger mount, DHI Colour Candy, at the last fence when the gelding got a little strong. All the horses and riders were fine.
“I didn’t get him back enough,” Faudree explained. “He missed. He was really good; he’s a horse for the future.”
Double Clear Cross-Country Rounds Abound In The CCI**
Boyd Martin and Crackerjack, a Thoroughbred cross (Aberjack—Satan’s Slave, Raise A Native) gelding, jumped a double clear cross-country round in the CCI** to end the day on their dressage score (48.5).
“On a longer course like this where he can take a breath and not go really fast, I can keep a lid on him,” Martin said, describing the gelding as a bit of a “wild man.”
Crackerjack, formerly ridden by the late Colin Davidson and still owned by Davidson’s parents, was one of nine horses to go double clear in the division out of 18 starters. Only three horses earned jumping penalties. Mr. Indiscretion hung a leg over the first element of the coffin combination with Katie Wherley in the saddle. She landed on his neck, and he stopped before the coffin. They cleared it in their second attempt.
Caroline Martin and Petite Flower also had one refusal, and Jennifer Simmons and Lestair’s three refusals eliminated them from the competition.
Holly Payne, 28, popped up to second place with Santino, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred (Son’s Of Corona—Equate, Raja Baja) owned by Bethann Groblewski.
“He used to be a little ADD,” Payne said. “He would just weave cross-country because he was distracted.”
However, Santino handled the course and the crowds, a new experience for him, well.
Mandiba Leads The CIC**
O’Connor kept both her first placed-standing on Mandiba and her third-placed spot on RF Amber Eyes in the CIC** after cross-country at Jersey Fresh.
Mandiba, who currently sits almost 7 points ahead of Will Coleman and Zipp, tackled the course easily. O’Connor earned 5.2 time penalties aboard Mandiba, but she still has a rail in hand over Coleman and Zipp. Werner Geven on Vilas Country put in the only double-clear round in the CIC** to move up from 10th after dressage to fourth.
“I had such a blast on him,” O’Connor said. “He’s having a heck of a good time.”
O’Connor plans to enter Mandiba in the CCI** at Bromont. Earlier this spring, he won The Fork Horse Trials CIC** in Norwood, N.C.
Full results available on EventEntries.