Tuesday, May. 28, 2024

No One Can Outrun Dutton At Red Hills

Over the last three years, Phillip Dutton and Darren Chiacchia have battled for the win in the Red Hills CIC***W. This year, on March 11, the event took an unexpected turn as Chiacchia, who was tied with Leslie Law for the lead after dressage, apparently had a rein break as he turned into the final water jump, the Dolphin Dance at fence 24. 

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Over the last three years, Phillip Dutton and Darren Chiacchia have battled for the win in the Red Hills CIC***W. This year, on March 11, the event took an unexpected turn as Chiacchia, who was tied with Leslie Law for the lead after dressage, apparently had a rein break as he turned into the final water jump, the Dolphin Dance at fence 24. 

Chiacchia had to dismount from Windfall, who won the World Cup qualifier division here in 2004, and make an adjustment to his tack before continuing on course. The 44.8 time penalties he accumulated knocked him from the lead to 15th place.    

Meanwhile, Dutton proved again to be the master of cross-country riding. By guiding Annie Jones’ The Foreman to the day’s fastest time (incurring just 2.8 time penalties), he jumped from sixth to first (54.0), comfortably ahead of Law, who stands in second with his Olympic gold medal partner, Shear L’Eau (60.5).  

As Dutton rides for Australia and Law rides for Great Britain, Jonathan Holling is the top U.S. rider after cross-country. He and Lion King II stand third (65.10), ahead of McKinlaigh and Gina Miles (68.6). Heidi White/ Northern Spy and Karen O’Connor/Upstage are tied for fifth (68.7), followed by Jan Thompson with Task Force (70.8) and Mara Dean with Nicki Henley (72.1). Dutton stands ninth aboard Connaught (72.4), and Bruce Davidson is 10th with Jam (75.8). Connaught had the day’s second-fastest time, incurring just 7.2 penalties.     

Chiacchia took the course just ahead of Dutton on The Foreman. Chiacchia had knocked the flag off the extremely narrow Dolphin Dance fence, and volunteers didn’t have time to fix it as Dutton came flying up behind him, but the pair never hesitated and ran right by them to take the lead.

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Both Dutton and Chiacchia had been held nearly half an hour at the start due to the fall of Bobby Costello and Wild Delight at the first element of fence 25ABC, an oxer to a double of corners. Wild Delight seemed to land on Costello, and medics immediately began to attend to him. He was transported by air to a hospital, and although no official report has been made, he was reportedly moving all limbs and aware of where he was, protesting the helicopter transport.    

Of 39 starters in the CIC***W, 29 competitors completed cross-country, with five riders retiring and five eliminations. Officials estimated that well more than 22,000 spectators poured into the Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee to watch the day’s action.   

Dutton has a rail in hand over Law, and the stakes as the event concludes tomorrow include not only prize money but also the right to compete in the FEI World Cup Final in Sweden this summer and a free lease of a BMW for a year. 

Dutton also leads the CIC** with Rebecca Broussard’s Lucky Stripe (51.6) ahead of Law and Another Garrison (59.2) and Dean with Jos Ambition (59.6).     

Karl Slezak of Canada leads the advanced division on John Rumble’s Foxwood Spencer (50.2), over Laine Ashker with Eight Saint James Place (51.8) and Dutton on Annie Jones’ Handyman Hughie (51.9).

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