Elkton, Md.—Oct. 15
Of the eight FEI events Sunsprite Syrius has completed with Tamra Smith, he’s never finished outside the top two, so when he led the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI** this weekend from start to finish, it seemed like it was in the cards from the start.
“It’s amazing. I’m thrilled. He was perfect in every phase, and I couldn’t have ask him to be better,” said Smith. He show jumped today like a million bucks, and I didn’t miss. I was really happy!”
Smith, Murrieta, Calif., won the CCI*** two years ago on Alexandra Ahearn’s Mai Baum, so she was thrilled to take home another big win to the West Coast.
The 9-year-old Trakehner gelding, bred by Lori Whitley and owned by Sunsprite Warmbloods, has been with Smith since he was 5.
“It’s always good to be in the winners circle. It’s really special for this horse. The owners have a fairly small/medium breeding farm in Southern California, and Pam [Duffy] is very diligent about breeding the horses and what horses she acquires for the sport. Don [Trotter’s] a huge volunteer in U.S. eventing. I’m just really happy for them. It’s been a long road to get here, so I’m thrilled for them,” said Smith.
“They won’t even pick up the phone because they’re afraid it’s bad luck!” she added. “We’ve been texting, but they’re very, ‘You do your thing and be in your zen mode.’ Don sent me some messages last night—‘Whatever happens tomorrow, you’re a champion.’ They’re just so wonderful.”
Smith says she’ll listen to the gelding to see what’s next for him in 2018. “He’s always been a very competitive horse. He’s never finished out of the top two in any of his FEI starts. I’m hoping he keeps climbing the ladder. He has all the right ingredients to be a top horse. I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” she said.
Will Coleman and Off The Record, an 8-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate, moved into second place with a clear round, one of 21 in the division.
“Anytime you finish a three-day event on your dressage score it’s a major accomplishment. This horse has done it twice this year, which I’m really proud of,” he said. “I think there’s some things we’ll try to improve on over the winter, but he’s been consistent this year, and that’s something we can hang out hat on and try to keep getting better.”
Matt Flynn also earned a clear round on Get Lucky, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood he owns.
“I was really happy with all three phases,” he said. “I was disappointed to be one second over [on cross-country] but for him, I’m thrilled. It’s his second two-star, and he’s been third here before, so it’s nice to repeat.”