Alltentown, N.J., May 11
For the third time this season, Phillip Dutton and Mystery Whisper completed a dressage test that catapulted them to the top of the leaderboard.
After dressage day for the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event CCI***, Dutton stands on a score of 32.6, well ahead of second-placed Karen O’Connor on Veronica (39.6). Michael Pollard rode into third aboard Jude’s Law with a score of 43.6. Dutton’s test highlighted the horse’s elasticity and super movement, earning a score of 79.60 percent from the judge at E, Ulrich Schmitz.
“It’s good to go in there on a really trained horse and know that if I ride him correctly it’s going to come off,” Dutton, 48, said. “It’s great to have this horse. It’s a bit like a fairytale. I hope it keeps going.”
Dutton and “Whisper,” a 12-year-old Australian-bred Warmblood (Richmeed Medallion—Socialite, Salute), won the Red Hills Horse Trials CIC*** (Fla.) and, more recently, The Fork Horse Trials CIC*** (N.C.). Linda Zang has been helping Dutton on the flat recently. “[Whisper]’s very straightforward. He’s a quiet horse. It’s just a case of tweaking the movements and trying to get a little more out of him,” said Dutton.
Watch Dutton and Whisper’s winning test:
Whisper, who competed through the four-star level with Heath Ryan in Australia, was brought to the United States by James Wildasin for his daughter Arden last December. Dutton plans to eventually hand the gelding’s reins to Arden, but right now he has his eyes set on the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“It’s been great for me to feel what a really well-educated horse feels like, and it’s going to help me with my other horses as well,” Dutton, West Grove, Pa., said. “It’s a great experience to have him.”
Going into tomorrow’s cross-country, Dutton does not necessarily plan to go for time. “I’m going to go at a speed that’s comfortable for the horse,” he said. “My main priority is getting him qualified for the Olympics. That’s No. 1. We’ll see how it all pans out tomorrow.”
Dutton is also catch-riding Indie for Jennie Brannigan in the CCI** after Brannigan hurt her knee in a fall earlier this week. Indie is second after dressage in that division.
Universe Slides Into First
Clark Montgomery took first place in the CIC*** after dressage with a score of 40.8 on Universe.
Universe, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood owned by Clark’s wife, Jessica Montgomery, finished seventh this spring at The Fork Horse Trials CIC*** (N.C.).
“Today’s test was a huge improvement compared to The Fork,” Clark, 31, said. “The trot work was more tense there.”
Today, Universe was relaxed and elegant in the arena, with seamless flying changes.
“He went in there and was really grown up, the most grown up he’s been all year. I was really happy with his test,” said Clark.
Universe sustained an injury last year, which forced him to take time off to recuperate and go through rehabilitation. “He’s a greener horse than if he had done advanced all year, but he’s good,” said Clark.
The top few riders are seperated by a few points, with Hannah Sue Burnett in second on Harbour Pilot, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Cruising—Shannon) owned by Jacqueline Mars. Harbour Pilot’s dressage score of 44.6 today in New Jersey was a big improvement over the 60.3 he earned in dressage at The Fork CIC***. Buck Davidson and The Apprentice are third on 47.2 penalties.
Looking ahead to John Williams’ CIC*** cross-country course, Clark said he’s glad for the recent rain that helped soften the ground slightly.
“It’s still a touch on the firm side, but I’m really, really picky,” he said. “The questions all seem good. We have to twist around a little bit, but we just don’t have all the acres here. They have to get the distance in.”
Yesterday, the dressage started with the CCI** and the CIC**. Karen O’Connor currently leads the CIC** with a score of 42.2 on Mandiba. In the CCI**, Boyd Martin leads on Crackerjack. They earned a score of 48.5 penalties in dressage.
Full results from Jersey Fresh available on EventEntries.