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June 20, 2005

This Looks Like Phillip Dutton's Year To Win The Rolex Kentucky CCI****

The atmosphere at the Kentucky Horse Park is always electric, but I think that this year it will be more supercharged than ever.

Eventing enthusiasts around the world are coming to the realization that this may be the last classic-format four-star event that they'll ever witness. So true fans of the sport are coming from every corner of the globe to watch the ultimate test of horsemanship, possibly for the last time.

Janie Atkinson and her organizing committee never cease to amaze me. Every time I go to the Kentucky Horse Park, I think they have put on the best event ever. Yet when I return 12 months later, I realize they've done it again. Rolex Watch USA is celebrating their 25th anniversary of sponsorship this year.

Our sport would never have enjoyed the success we have over the past quarter of a century without the help of Rolex, and we're all extremely grateful for their support.

You'll see the results of some of that support in the spectator facilities around the park. The trade fair has been expanded into a Disneyland for horse lovers. Don't forget your walking shoes, and bring your credit cards--all of them!

If you need to catch your breath, there's a new giant scoreboard under a tent, with seating and closed-circuit TV so you can follow the action.

And you can be sure that, with the cross-country designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, there will be non-stop action. While the course follows the same general path as last year, Mike E.-S. has come up with a few new wrinkles to separate the best from the rest. When the riders leave the start box, they had better bring their brains along, because they are going to need them!

When you walk around the course, please stay outside the galloping lanes, to preserve the turf for the horses. But during your tour of the course, notice the workmanship that's gone into the construction of these fences.

Mick Costello builds all the fences here, and he may have outdone himself at the new brush corners across from the RV park. Three different kinds of wood are involved, and the brush looks as if he used hand scissors to shape them. Close by the double brush corners are the new ducks at the Head of the Lake. It's unusual to combine brilliant design with fantastic construction, but that's what you have here. They are truly a work of art.

And speaking of art, the course designer for the stadium jumping is a real artist. Richard Jeffery is at the top of his game, and the winners here will have to prove that they're as good at show jumping as they are at dressage and cross-country.

Both Mike and Richard like to see horses go smoothly and confidently forward to their jumps. If you see someone careening around the park this weekend with their hands going like the Texas chainsaw massacre, they're not going to feature in the final placings.

The competition will not be over until the last horse jumps the last show jump obstacle. I can guarantee that Richard will produce a final line of fences that
must be ridden in a calm, flowing, forward fashion. Only the best of the best will be able to do that.

It looks to me as if 2005 will be the year that Phillip Dutton on Annie Jones' The Foreman will break Kim Severson and Winsome Adante's grip on the Rolex Championship. Andrew Hoy, aboard Mrs. M. Magnier's 2004 Burghley CCI**** (England) winner, Moonfleet, will be in the mix, as will our Olympic veterans John Williams and Darren Chiacchia.

All of these riders are fabulous and mounted on horses to dream about. But I think Phillip is going to finally gain the one title in the world that he has longed for and that has always escaped him, and that's to win a classic.

CCI ****

EIGHT SAINT JAMES PLACE: b. g., 16.2 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Mangaki--Sandy Tiger, owned by Valerie Ashker, Crozier, Va.
LAINE ASHKER: age 20, Crozier, Va
.

In 2004, placed second in the advanced intermediate horse trials at Groton House (Mass.) and sixth in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.). Completed the Blenheim Petplan CCI*** (England) and placed sixth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed eighth at Rocking Horse (Fla.).

Laine is one of four young riders here this weekend. She has gone well at the three-star level, but she realizes this is a step up, and she'll aim for an educational round.

DOBBIN: ch. g., 16.0 hands, 11 years, Thoroughbred.
CORINNE ASHTON: age 43, Princeton, Mass.

In 2004, won the advanced intermediate horse trials at Groton House (Mass.), placed third at Southern Pines (N.C.) and the American Eventing Championships (N.C.) and won at Millbrook (N.Y.). Placed seventh in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.).

Dobbin is one of my personal favorites. He has phenomenal scope and a brain to match. If Corinne will put her hands down and trust him, this pair might astonish the world.

PLATINUM: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred.
AMY BARRINGTON: age 43, Landrum, S.C.

In 2004, placed fourth at Menfelt (Md.), placed 18th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and 12th in the Fair Hill (Md.) CCI***. Completed Pine Top (Ga.) in March.

Amy has been making steady progress with this lovely gray Thoroughbred, and a steady clear round is well within their
reach.

LIVINGSTONE: b. g., 16.3 hands, 15 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred, by Wanderkind--Dancing Proud, owned by rider and Gerry Bennett, Langley, B.C.
HAWLEY BENNETT (CAN): age 27, Langley, B.C.


In 2004, they were members of the Canadian Olympic Team in Athens. They also placed fourth at Copper Meadows (Calif.), ninth in the Galway Downs CIC-W*** and 14th at Rolex Kentucky.

"Hank" knows his way around the Kentucky Horse Park, having jumped his way onto the Canadian Olympic team here last year. Hawley has done all of her preparation on the West Coast this spring, and we'll see if she and Hank are ready for the level of intensity of competition that she'll find this weekend.

WEST FARTHING: dk. b./br. g., 17.0 hands, 12 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Triple Sweet--April Foley, owned by rider and Carl Bouckaert, Chatsworth, Ga.
NATHALIE BOUCKAERT-POLLARD: age 24, Chatsworth, Ga.

In 2003, placed third in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and eighth in the Pan American Championships at Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2004, placed seventh in the modified four-star at Rolex Kentucky.

Nathalie and West Farthing were unlucky not to win the modified four-star here last year. To date, they haven't regained their form of last spring. But if they can assemble all the pieces of the puzzle, they'll place well.

WINDFALL 2: bl. st., 16.2 hands, 13 years, German-bred Trakehner, by Habicht--Wundermaedel, owned by Timothy Holekamp, Columbia, Mo.
DARREN M. CHIACCHIA: age 40, Ocala, Fla.


In 2003, won at Pine Top (Ga.) and placed second at the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.), then placed second in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and won the individual gold medal in the Pan American Championships at Fair Hill (Md.). In 2004, won at Red Hills (Fla.) and Poplar Place (Ga.), won the modified four-star at Rolex Kentucky, and was a member of the bronze-medal team at the Athens Olympic Games, finishing 12th individually. In March, placed second at Red Hills (Fla.).

It will be interesting to see how Darren deals with competing in a format that he doesn't have his heart in. Although he's been going well this spring, Windfall hasn't had the flawless preparation that he did 12 months ago. I expect to see them in the top 10, but not so close to the top end as last year, when they won the modified division here.

PRIVATE TREATY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 9 years, Irish-bred by Cavalier, owned by rider and Luke Allen, Oxford, Pa.
BUCK DAVIDSON: age 29, Ringoes, N.J.


In 2004, won at Millbrook (N.Y.), placed 11th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and eighth in the CIC*** at Over the Walls (Mass.). In March, placed third at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and 11th in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).

The "Rider Formerly Known As Buck" has as much chance to win here this year as he did last year. But, you say, he didn't ride here last year? I rest my case. (Buck always likes to be in a bad mood when he goes cross-country here. This should do it).

HANNIGAN: b. g., 16.1 hands, 14 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, by Western Promise--Bleeker Lady, owned by Bruce Duchossois, Aiken, S.C.
PHILLIP DUTTON (AUS): age 41, West Grove, Pa
.

In 2003, placed eighth in the Badminton CCI**** (England). In 2004, placed second in the modified CCI at Rolex Kentucky. Hannigan can be a difficult ride, but Phillip believes in him and has gained this horse's confidence. I think that Hannigan, along with his two other stablemates, will feature in the top 10 on Sunday afternoon.

NOVA TOP: ch. g., 16.0 hands, 14 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Ra Nova--Expo Topic, owned by Shannon Stimson, Middleburg, Va.
PHILLIP DUTTON (AUS): age 41, West Grove, Pa.


In 2003, won the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.) and the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.), then placed second in the Blenheim CCI*** (England). In 2004, placed second at Rolex Kentucky and represented Australia as an individual in the Olympic Games in Athens, finishing 13th.

Shannon Stimson's Olympic veteran, Nova Top, will be the beneficiary of another patented, smooth, efficient performance from Phillip and will finish in the top 10.

THE FOREMAN: b. g., 16.1 hands, 9 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Across The Field--Four Flora, owned by Ann Jones, Coatesville, Pa.
PHILLIP DUTTON (AUS): age 41, West Grove, Pa
.

In 2003, won the Bromont CCI** (Canada). In 2004, won the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, won the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.) and the North Georgia CIC***.

"Chip" is my pick to win this year. His dressage has moved to the next level, he has jumped some big courses very well, and
he and Phillip exude the sort of confidence you need to win a classic.

LE SAMURAI: dk. br. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, U.S.-bred Holsteiner, by Sabotage--Heiali.
ROBYN FISHER: age 25, West Hills, Calif.

In 2004, placed third at Galway Downs (Calif.) in February; in March won the CIC*** at Galway and placed 10th in the Saumur CCI*** (France).

Le Samurai is a lovely, talented horse with a good rider. This combination is not ready to win here, but they won't be overmatched by the conditions here, and the next time you see them, they'll be much improved by their efforts this weekend. When the dust settles on Sunday afternoon, I predict that Robyn will be the winner of the "Whodat?" Trophy, my award for the least-known rider who places the best at their first attempt at Rolex.

3 MAGIC BEANS: b. g., 17.0 hands, 15 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Hidden Capitol--Express Card, owned by rider.
NINA FOUT: age 45, Middleburg, Va.


A member of the 2000 U.S. bronze-medal Olympic team in Sydney. Finished 12th at Rolex Kentucky in 2000, 36th in 2001 and eighth in 2002. Placed 14th in the 2003 Badminton CCI**** (England) and 17th in the 2004 Burghley CCI**** (England).

"Beans" will turn in his usual flawless jumping performance. He's mortified at the mistake he made here last year [when he fell at the second fence] and has been seething in his stall for 12 months. But, in a sport increasingly decided by dressage and show jumping, I'm afraid his technical skills will still put him just outside the top 10.

TIMBER SPIRIT: ch. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, owned by rider and Mr. A. Grant, Mt. Albert, Ont.
LESLEY GRANT (CAN): age 30, Mt. Albert, Ont.


In 2004, placed fourth at Millbrook (N.Y.), 12th in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.) and completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). This year, completed Rocking Horse (Fla.) and placed 12th at Pine Top (Ga.).

This horse and rider will go for a steady clear round in their first four-star outing. After somewhat rocky introductions to the upper levels, they've started to form a partnership, and that process is continuing and improving.

BALLADEER TED: ch. g., 16.3 hands, 11 years, Irish Thoroughbred-cross, by Miser Lord--Aidas Girl, owned by Connewirrico Sport Horses, Orangeville, Ont.
PETER GRAY (CAN): age 48, Orangeville, Ont.

Gray has represented Bermuda in three Olympic Games and was an individual Pan Am Games bronze medalist in 1987. From 1996-2000, Gray was the national three-day coach for Canada. This combination were first alternates for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, completing the Bramham CCI*** (England). In advanced horse trials in 2004, they placed eighth at Morven Park (Va.) and fourth at both Checkmate (Canada) and Wits End (Canada).

This combination puzzles me. One of the most experienced riders here this weekend, on a fabulous Irish Sport Horse, yet they have not yet put three good phases together. Peter has to bring his riding skills with him when he ships in for Rolex, because Ted will go the way Peter rides him.

BAD BOY BILLY: b. g., 16.2 hands, 8 years, Thoroughbred, by Fiesta Star--Ieem, owned by Rebecca Broussard, Whitefish, Mont.
RALPH L. HILL: age 52, Ocala, Fla.


In 2002, placed 17th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In 2004, placed third in the intermediate horse trials in the Kentucky Classic and third in the advanced horse trials at Poplar Place (Ga.), finishing the year with a 23rd place in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).

Billy is green at this level, but only Bruce Davidson has been around this course more times than Ralph. He'll apply all his vast experience to the situation, and a clean round with a few time faults will be their best result to date.

REPRINT: gr. g., 16.1 hands, 12 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Kala Dancer--Ansatin, owned by rider.
RALPH L. HILL: age 52, Ocala, Fla.

In 2004, placed sixth in the intermediate horse trials at the Kentucky Classic and 11th at Poplar Place (Ga.).

Ralph has brought Reprint along quietly this spring, and I think he will follow a quiet strategic plan on a horse that's a little bit short of experience at this level.

COURAGEOUS COMET: gr. g., 16.2 hands, 9 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Comet Shine--Rosanelli, owned by Tom Holder, Mendota Heights, Minn.
BECKY HOLDER: age 36, Mendota Heights, Minn.


In 2004, placed second at Wayne (Ill.) and won at Richland Park (Mich.) and Poplar Place (Ga.). This year, won at Pine Top (Ga.) and Poplar Place (Ga.).
Every time I've seen this pair, they have been going better than the last time I'd seen them. This horse suits Becky better than her longtime veteran ride [Highland Hogan], and I expect this horse to shine here this weekend and finish in the top 10.

HIGHLAND HOGAN: b. g., 16.0 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Father Hogan--Game For A Change, owned by Faye Woolf, Chapel Hill, N.C.
BECKY HOLDER: age 36, Mendota Heights, Minn.

Completed the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 2003, placed ninth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2004, won the open intermediate horse trials at Wayne (Ill.), placed third at Richland Park (Mich.) and won at Red Hills (Fla.). In February, placed second in open intermediate at Pine
Top (Ga.).

If you thought that, at age 14, "Hogie" has sobered up, you have another thing coming. This makes him a difficult ride over one of Mike Etherington-Smith's courses because they stress, above all else, rideability. Becky will settle for clean and a bit slow as opposed to fast and out of
control.

LION KING II: ch. g., 17.0 hands, 11 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Shaab--Granny Smith, owned by Jennifer, Holling, Ocala, Fla.
JONATHAN HOLLING: age 28, Ocala, Fla.


Placed 11th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and 17th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2002. In 2003, placed 19th at Rolex Kentucky.
In the past, I'd been waiting patiently for Jonathan and Lion King to have their breakout season. I am no longer patient. The future is now, Jonathan.

BIG WAVE DAVE: b. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred, by Marcellini--Cam Am Lady, owned by rider.
REBECCA HOWARD (CAN): age 26, Middleburg, Va.


Placed seventh in the 2003 Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). I am delighted to see Dave back on the scene, and I think that Rebecca will ride to orders and produce a steady, clear round.

MOONFLEET: br. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, owned by Mrs. S. Magnier, Fethard, Ireland.
ANDREW HOY (AUS): age 46, Minchinhampton, Great Britain.


In 2004, placed ninth in the Bonn Rodderberg CIC*** (Germany), second in the CIC**** at Punchestown (Ireland) and won the Burghley CCI**** (England).

This is Andrew's first trip to the park since the World Cham-pionships in 1978. In the meantime, he's won at every level on every kind of horse and is a real threat to the hometown heroes here. If "Hoy-Boy" thinks enough of his chances to put Moonfleet on the plane to try to win the Rolex Grand Slam, I think enough of his riding to predict that he'll finish in the top three. With the retirement of Mark Todd, Andrew must be the most proficient rider in the world today. If you want a free riding lesson, watch this pair this week. This is what it's supposed to look like!

YOEMANS POINT: dk. b./br. g., 17.0 hands, 12 years, New Zealand-bred, owned by Mrs. S. Magnier, Fethard, Ireland.
ANDREW HOY (AUS): age 46, Minchinhampton, Great Britain.


Placed seventh in the Chatsworth CNC*** (England) and sixth in the Luhm?CIC*** (Germany) in 2004.

Yeomans Point is a bit green at this level, and I think Andrew will concentrate on education, rather than competition, for this horse.

BETTER I DO IT: b. g., 16.3 hands, 12 years, Swedish-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Theodore Iorio, Millis, Mass.
ADRIENNE IORIO-BORDEN: age 33, Millis, Mass.


A new ride for Iorio-Borden, Better I Do It was ridden by Abigail Lufkin in 2004. With Lufkin, he placed seventh at Morven Park (Va.) and Millbrook (N.Y.)
and second at Morven Park (Va.) in October. He also placed fifth in the Saumur CCI*** (France). With Iorio-Borden and he was 18th at the Red Hills CIC (Fla.) in March.

Adrienne has had some difficulties establishing a partnership with this horse, and I think you'll see her swing wide on a few turns and take an extra 1 or 2 seconds in order to ensure a safe, comfortable, clear round.

URBAN LEGEND: b. g., 17.0 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Hoedown's Day--Smirken, owned by rider.
ADRIENNE IORIO-BORDEN: age 33, Millis, Mass.


In 2004, Urban Legend completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and the North Georgia CIC*** with former rider Catherine O'Donnell. At Over The Walls (Mass.), with Adrienne riding he placed eighth. I haven't seen Adrienne go with this horse, but based on their competitive record, I expect them to aim for a steady clear.

SEMPER FIDELIS: b. g., 16.1 hands, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred-Hanoverian-cross, by Sanwail--Genasis, owned by rider and Gary Kart, Braselton, Ga.
BRITTANY KART: age 29, Americus, Ga.


In 2004, placed fourth at Poplar Place (Ga.) and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed fifth at Rocking Horse (Fla.).

I haven't seen this horse and rider compete this spring. Regardless of their level of training, they will benefit from the education that our horses always receive from Mike Etherington-Smith's design and Mick Costello's construction.

COUP DE COEUR: dk. b./br. g., 16.2 hands, 11 years, British-bred Thoroughbred-cross, by Joli Coeur--Dark Image, owned by Keith Scott, Northchapel, W. Sussex, Great Britian.
LESLIE LAW (GBR): age 40, Upton on Seven, Worc., Great Britain.


In 2004, placed 12th in the World Cup Final at Pau (France) and 11th in the Saumur CCI*** (France). Law and Shear L'Eau, who competed at Rolex Kentucky in 2002 and 2003, were the individual gold medalists at the Olympic Games in Athens and members of the silver-medal team.

It will be a thrill to see last year's Olympic gold-medal winner here in the Horse Park, but Coup De Coeur is a little green at this level, and I would be surprised if he can finish in the top 10.

RAMPANT LION: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 11 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Distinctive Pro--Paula Sue, owned by Rampant Lion Syndicate, Medford, N.J.
WENDY LEWIS: age 32, Medford, N.J.


In 2004, completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In March, placed eighth in the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.).
Rampant Lion has been making steady progress, and I expect that to continue here. Wendy is another rider who should have a breakthrough event here.

ABOVE 'N' BEYOND: ch. g., 16.0 hands, 10 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred, by Colonel Stevens--Sasudio, owned by Paul Meetze, Blythewood, S.C.
TIFFANI LOUDON-MEETZE: age 29, Blythewood, S.C.

Placed third in the 2004 Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.).

Tiffani is one of the best-kept secrets in the eventing world. She does excellent dressage work, is fearless cross-country and accurate on the final day. If things go her way this weekend, she could give the U.S. selectors something to scratch their heads about.

EL PRIMERO: b. g., 15.2 hands, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Dr. Dan Eyes--Classic Allure, owned by rider.
SARA MITTLEIDER: age 19, Kuna, Idaho.

In 2003, placed second in the Galway Downs CCI** (Calif.). In 2004, placed ninth at the American Eventing Championships (N.C.), third at Jackson Hole (Wyo.), won at The Event at Rebecca Farm (Mont.), and placed 13th in the Fair Hill (Md.) CCI***. Sara is the recipient of the Amanda Warrington Grant from the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation for 2005.

El Primero is ridden by another one of our young rider entries. I haven't seen this pair go, but they have the luxury of low expectations. At Sara's young age, she can relax and just concentrate on riding as well as she knows how.

FALCON FLIGHT: ch. g., 16.2 hands, 9 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Max and Billie Clark, Mineral Wells, Texas.
CLARK MONTGOMERY: age 23, Marshall, Va.


In 2003, placed fifth at Red Hills (Fla.) and North Georgia and placed 18th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.).

It will be interesting to see if moving up a level causes Clark to move his results up a level as well. I'm not the only one who thinks that it's time for the real Clark Montgomery to stand up.

UPSTAGE: b. g., 15.1 hands, 14 years, New Zealand-bred Thorough-bred, by Touching Wood--Golly D'Ore, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thompson, Malvern, Pa.
KAREN O'CONNOR: age 47, The Plains, Va
.

In 2003, placed third at Poplar Place (Ga.) and won at Pine Top (Ga.), then placed sixth at Rolex Kentucky and 27th in the Burghley CCI**** (England). In 2004, placed 12th in the modified four-star at Rolex Kentucky.

There is a wonderful story about the baseball legend, Joe DiMaggio. In the last year of his career, late in the season, with his team out of the pennant race, he went racing full speed around first base and turned a scratch single into a double by dint of a headlong slide into second, just beating the throw from the outfielder. When he returned to the dugout a little later on, his teammates asked him what in the heck he was trying to prove, risking his neck like that for no possible reward. DiMaggio replied, "There might be some kid in the stands who has never seen me play before. That's the way I want him to remember me, playing baseball the way it should be played." So here comes Karen, with nothing left to prove, and the Hall of Fame waiting for her, riding for the sheer joy of it, because, well, that's the way she wants you to remember her. Make sure you watch her this weekend. You'll never forget her.

TUMBLE DRY: dk.b./br. g., 15.3 hands, 17 years, Cintello--mare by Ambehaving, owned by rider.
JENNA SCHILDMIER: age 21, Greenfield, Ind.


Placed third at Plantation Fields (Pa.) in 2004 and 21st at Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
This is another one of our young riders here. I love youngriders--they're always courageous and enthusiastic. Their horses sense this and perform accordingly. Jenna should trust her longtime friend and enjoy the incomparable experience of completing a classic four-star.

CAVALDI: b. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Cavalier Royale--Catell, owned by rider and Bill and Janet Schmolze, Montville, N.J.
KRISTIN SCHMOLZE: age 22, Montville, N.J.


In 2003, placed 11th at Morven Park (Va.) and eighth at Plantation Field (Pa.). Placed 17th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and second in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.), garnering the USET Markham Trophy for the highest-placed young rider. In 2004, placed second at Menfelt (Md.), fifth in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.) and 21st in the Fair Hill (Md.) CCI***.

Kristin has had a hard time regaining their form of a couple of years ago. As soon as she relaxes and rides for the sheer joy of it again, her magic will return. We haven't seen her best yet, but it's there.

MAGUIRE: gr. g., 16.0 hands, 12 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Plain Dealing Farm, Inc., Scottsville, Va.
KIM SEVERSON: age 31, Keene, Va.

Placed fourth in the 2004 Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.).

Little "Mac" actually suits Kim better than his more famous stablemate Winsome Adante. Their partnership will be good enough to get them into the top 10, but a few dressage points will keep them out of first place.

WINSOME ADANTE: b. g., 16.0 hands, 12 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Saunter--Justwith Genoa, owned by Plain Dealing Farm, Inc., Scottsville, Va.
KIM SEVERSON: age 31, Keene, Va.


In 2002, won the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and Over The Walls (Mass.) on the way to an individual sixth place in the World Championships as a member of the gold-medal team. In 2004, won the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** on their way to a team bronze and individual silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens.

"Dan" is as fit as ever and as formidable as ever, but the overall picture this spring has not been flawless. At this level, even the slightest of errors will allow Phillip Dutton and "Chip" to finish just ahead of Kim and Dan. If I'm right in my prognostication, I will be sad to see it.

Dan's breeders, Janet and Chris Gooch, are coming over from England at owner Linda Wachtmeister's request, to watch him go. No matter what his final placing, I know they'll be as proud of him, and of Kim, as we all are.

CLIFTON SAY WHAT: ch. g., 16.1 hands, 15 years, New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Frances Stead, Whitford, New Zealand.
DONNA SMITH (NZL): age 25, The Plains, Va.


In New Zealand in 2003, placed ninth in the Taupo CCI*** (New Zealand). In 2004, placed third at Menfelt (Md.). In March, placed eighth at Red Hills (Fla.).

Donna and Clifton Say What will jump a good, clear round here, but their partnership is not mature enough yet to put them into the top placings.

DUSKY MOON: b. g., 16.2 hands, 11 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, owned by rider, Debbie Brookes, Mr. and Mrs. D.Stibbe, Sandy, Beds., Great Britain.
EDDY STIBBE (AHO): age 57, Sandy, Beds., Great Britain
.

Placed 13th in the 2003 Boekelo CCI*** (the Netherlands). In 2004, represented the Netherlands Antilles at the Olympic Games and placed 17th in Boekelo CCI***.

When Eddy goes by on Saturday, make sure you applaud someone who has probably ridden more three- and four-star horses than anyone else in the world. Eddy's super competitive days are long past, and he now rides for the sheer joy of partnership with his horse, which is the way it should be.

TASK FORCE: b. g., 16.1 hands, 13 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Blue Vein--Chicola Craft, owned by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Byyny, Boulder, Colo.
JAN THOMPSON: age 37, Purcellville, Va.

In 2003, completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and placed 14th in the Blenheim CCI*** (England). In 2004, placed seventh at Pine Top (Ga.) and sixth at Rolex Kentucky.

Task Force is a veteran at the Kentucky Horse Park now. His preparation this spring has
been good but not great, and I expect them to finish just outside the top 10.

POGGIO II: b. g., 15.3 hands, 13 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Polynesian Flyer--Waves Club, owned by rider and Mark Hart, Portland, Ore.
AMY TRYON: age 35, Duvall, Wash.


In 2002, placed third in the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and were members of the gold-medal team in the World Championships in Spain. In 2003, placed fifth at The Event at Rebecca Farm (Mont.), seventh in the Galway Downs CIC*** (Calif.) and in England placed 17th at the Burghley CCI****. In 2004, won at Southern Pines (N.C.), placed 11th at Rolex Kentucky, and were members of the U.S. bronze-medal Olympic team, finishing sixth individually.

If you're waiting for Poggio to grow up, keep waiting. He's been as irrepressible as ever this spring. But his talent and Amy's skill will put them in the top 10.

WARRIE HILL: b. g., 16.2 hands, 13 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Long Boat--Luskins Bid, owned by rider
NICKY TURNER (AUS): age 29,West Grove, Pa.


In 2003, placed sixth in the Melbourne CCI*** (Australia) and 12th in the Adelaide CCI**** (Australia).

This pair is going to be well-prepared and should go well here. This is a lovely horse, and I would not be surprised to see him finish under the time cross-country.

OCOTILLO: b. g., 17.0 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Roxbury Park--Miss Paula,owned by Team Ocotillo LLC Wieschhoff, Lexington, Ky.
CATHY WIESCHHOFF: age 46, Lexington, Ky.

In 2004, placed 16th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.), placed sixth at Morven Park (Va.) and 15th at Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).

Ridden by local favorite Cathy Wieschhoff, Ocotillo had a good spring season, but their dressage hasn't been fancy enough yet to get them an upper placing here.

CARRICK: ch. g., 17.0 hands, 13 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred cross, by Cozy Commander--War Issue, owned by rider, Atkins, dePapp, Tichell, Williams, Southern Pines, N.C.
JOHN WILLIAMS: age 40, Southern Pines, N.C.

Placed second in the 2002 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and went on to place fourth individually as a member of the gold-medal team at the World Equestrian Games. In 2003, placed fourth in the Burghley CCI**** (England). Placed third at Kentucky in 2004 on their way to a team bronze medal at the Athens Olympic Games, finishing 21st individually.

Carrick had an easy spring, and while I expect them to finish in the top five, I think they will lack that little bit of competitive sharpness that makes the difference between placing well and winning.

SLOOPY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 13 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Two Davids--Nearly Sloopy, owned by rider, Robert Boeckman and Mary Delton, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
JOHN WILLIAMS: age 40, Southern Pines, N.C.


In 2002, placed sixth in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In 2003, placed 18th in the Burghley CCI**** (England). In 2004, placed 16th at Rolex Kentucky and 18th in the Burghley CCI**** (England).

Sloopy can easily finish on his dressage score here--that's the good news. But it remains to be seen if John has been able to improve Sloopy's dressage enough to get them a good placing.

MAHOGANY CHIEF: b. g., 16.1 hands, 13 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Jitterbug Chief--Bell Clipper, owned by rider and Emeline Loughlin, Newnan, Ga.
EMMA WINTER (GBR): age 31, Newnan, Ga.


In 2003, placed fifth at Poplar Place (Ga.) and completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2004, placed eighth at Pine Top (Ga.) and 14th in the Foxhall Cup CCI***.

This combination is one of my secret favorites because they're so obviously a partnership. Their preparation has been a little up and down this spring, but they should jump an impressive clean round to finish just outside the top 10.

BROADSTONE WHITEHALL: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Daybreak Lover--Kiwiette, owned by rider, Rick Worthen and Margaret Knox, Newnan, Ga.
CRICKET WORTHEN: age 28, Newnan, Ga.


In 2003, placed sixth at North Georgia and fifth at Plantation Field (Pa), completed the CCI*** at Foxhall (Ga.) and placed fifth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2004, placed third at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and 19th at Kentucky.

If Cricket's health is better this year [she spent the night before cross-country in the hospital with the flu last year], she'll easily improve on last year's placing. This is a horse with scope to burn and a marvelous attitude. Some of the finer points still escape them, but they'll be fine here and will make it look easy.

LET IT RAIN: b. m., 17.2 hands, 13 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by William Curtis--Rebate, owned by Jim Fitzgerald, Lexington, Ky.
CRICKET WORTHEN: age 28, Newnan, Ga.


In 2003, finished 21st in the Albury CIC*** (England). With Worthen, in 2004, placed 12th at Millbrook (N.Y.) and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, finished 11th at Rocking Horse (Fla.).

I haven't seen this horse go this year.
 
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