Phillip Dutton said in yesterday’s press conference that he was confident in Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive’s abilities this weekend, and that confidence didn’t waver as the two jumped a double clear round to hold onto their lead in the CCI3* at Galway Downs for the big win.
Phillip held onto his lead from the outset of competition, taking charge in the dressage and gritting his teeth for one of just three double clear rides yesterday and finally giving us all a course in show jumping this afternoon.
Maggie wrote in her By the Numbers for this division that “Jack” tends to pull no more than one rail in show jumping — though doing so today would have cost him the win. This was EN’s Dark Horse pick for the weekend, and on a weekend that clearly defined the best from the rest it was a good one to step up to the plate.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of Jack,” Phillip said. “He’s just had a great year and every event he seems to get better and better. I’m so excited for him and for Annie Jones and Tom Tierney who have been very patient with me and him.”
One prediction we did correctly make was that of Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect for second place. Allie and “Sounder” really had a heck of a weekend, having made the trek all the way from the East Coast following Fair Hill. Allie’s had a big smile on her face all weekend, and her hard work at building a partnership with Sounder paid off in spades today.
In second place overnight, Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett pulled one rail at the wine bottle jump (still empty, sadly) to drop down into third place overall. While we missed out on our win prediction, Lauren’s final score of 46.7 was on par with our numbers.
The course, for the most part, rode fairly well, with nine double clear rounds of 16 starters. The lighting was a bit tricky all day, with shadows being cast in various parts of the arena depending on the hour, but Marc’s course presented a fair challenge of accuracy and a measure of how much gas was left in the tank.
While the top five remained virtually unchanged from yesterday, I owe Lisa Marie Fergusson a big shout-out for an ace of a weekend with Honor Me. She’s taken her time bringing this big guy along, but her hard work shows as he successfully completed his first CCI3* in seventh place, steadily making her way up the board from 13th following dressage. Lisa is another who took a long road trip to get here from the East Coast, and she’ll be celebrating the whole way home I’m sure.
On a last note, Bella Mowbray posted on her Facebook that last night Star Vision’s knee began swelling. Upon further examination, a tiny puncture was found that unfortunately went all the way to the joint. He underwent surgery to flush the joint capsule last night at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital and now begins the road to recovery. We wish “Sheppy” the best of luck with his recovery!
It’s been such a great weekend in Temecula. I can’t thank everyone enough for their hard work and dedication that shows in the smiles on each and every competitor and spectator’s face. Thank you to Robert Kellerhouse for organizing this event, to Ann Haller for always running a great press tent and to the many other officials and volunteers who always make my life easy. Also, thanks once again to Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic for providing photos as I had a plane to catch with extremely poor timing!
Until next time, California! (Do I really have to leave?)