Between Richland Park in Michigan, Millstreet in Ireland and the fifth Event Rider Masters leg at Blair Castle in Scotland, eventing fans around the world will be in total sensory overload this weekend. The EN crew will be stalking live scores from Richland while watching all the action from Blair thanks to the free and fabulous live stream at eventridermasters.tv.
Our good friends at EquiRatings crunched the numbers on what we can expect in the Event Rider Masters CIC3* at Blair. Be sure to follow @equiratings on Twitter for more statistics throughout the weekend, and read on for 10 facts you need to know about Blair as we look ahead to the penultimate leg of Event Rider Masters.
1. The CIC3* has run six times at Blair from 2009 to 2014, and just once has a combination finished on a score lower than 45. Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish won the CIC3* in 2013 on a final score of 43.8, adding just 5.2 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 38.6. (The CIC3* did not run in 2015 due to the FEI European Championships being held at Blair.)
2. Time is always a factor on Ian Stark’s course, with no one making the optimum time in four of the six years. Just six riders have ever made the optimum time in the CIC3* at Blair: Paul Sims, Nicola Wilson, Gemma Tattersall, Emily Galbraith, Marilyn Little and Caroline Powell.
3. Five of the six winners of the CIC3* at Blair all sat inside the top three after dressage. Nicola Wilson won the inaugural running of the CIC3* in 2009 with Opposition Buzz after sitting in 10th place following dressage.
4. Nicola Wilson is the undisputed queen of Blair Castle, having won the CIC3* an incredible four of the six times. She won in 2014 aboard One Two Many, in 2011 with Bee Diplomatic, and in 2010 and 2009 with Opposition Buzz. She returns to Blair once again for 2016, this time riding Bulana.
5. Seigneur Medicott and Cloud Dancer are the only two horses in the field that average in the 30s in dressage. Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott are averaging 32.9 this season, coming off a personal best score of 31.0 at Aachen. While Cloud Dancer’s scores trended above his usual average with Tim Price in the irons, he will be re-united with his usual rider Jonelle Price at Blair. Last season Jonelle and Cloud Dancer averaged a 34.7 at the level.
6. Blyth Tait and Xanthus III and Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo are the strongest show jumping combinations in the field, both averaging above an 80% clear round rate. It’s notable that Blyth and Xanthus have preserved that record over 13 rounds, while Oliver and Cillnabradden Evo’s average comes from five rounds.
7. The field boasts young talent and experienced upper-level horses alike, with five of the horses having completed 10 or more CIC3* events in their careers. Of those longtime partnerships, Paul Tapner and Kilronan have the best cross country record, with a 92% clear round rate in their 12 completions, no jumping penalties and an average of 6.8 time penalties.
8. Paul Tapner currently holds a 21-point lead on the Event Rider Master series leaderboard over Gemma Tattersall, who will look to gain ground at Blair aboard Santiago Bay. While Gemma and Santiago Bay can’t match Paul and Kilronan’s longtime partnership, they have been perfect on cross country at this level so far, with clear rounds in all three of their runs and an average of 6.8 time penalties.
9. While Polystar I is one of the most inexperienced horses in the field, he comes to Blair with perhaps the best chance to play spoiler with Chris Burton. Polystar I won his CIC3* debut at Barbury Castle last month on his dressage score of 42.2 and was one of just four horses to make the tight optimum time. With an average final finishing score of 41.5 for the 2016 season, Chris and Polystar I are on track to challenge Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish for the best final finishing score in Blair CIC3* history.
10. Male riders have won all four legs of the Event Rider Master series so far: Astier Nicolas at Chatsworth, Alex Hua Tian at Bramham, Andrew Nicholson at Barbury, and Oliver Townend at Gatcombe. Will a female rider break the trend at Blair? Watch the action live Saturday and Sunday on eventridermasters.tv to find out!