Boyd Martin, Jennie Brannigan Best of Morning in Fair Hill CCI3*

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The West Coast riders dominated the CCI2* competition yesterday at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, but it’s been all about the Chester County crew hailing from nearby Pennsylvania today as the CCI3* riders took the ring. Buck Davidson and The Apprentice led on 44.0 after the first eight horses in the division when yesterday afternoon, and Boyd Martin and Master Frisky edged that score just before the lunch break to currently lead on 43.4.

A 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Steve Blauner, Master Frisky finished 5th in the CCI2* here in 2012 and had an extended period of time off last season due to an injury. Boyd has been slowly bringing him back this year, with the horse most recently finishing in 29th in his first CIC3* at Plantation Field to qualify for Fair Hill.

Boyd and Master Frisky scored 55.8 at Plantation, so this score is easily the horse’s personal best. With six horses attempting their first CCI events at their respective levels this weekend, Boyd said yesterday he’s “half terrified” for cross country tomorrow. But he’s sitting on good cross country horses; Master Frisky hasn’t recorded a cross country jump penalty during their two-year partnership.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda scored 47.0 to hold third place at the halfway point in the division, putting themselves in a very good position to play Spoiler as we’ve predicted. Though Ping is extremely fit right now — as Jennie has been galloping him just across the grounds at the race track — he put in an obedient, fluid test, which you can watch above.

Mackenna Shea and Landioso are in fourth place on 47.2, putting them well within striking distance to hit our prediction of a second place finish. “Landi” shines in this phase, with an uphill trot and elastic canter creating a big presence in the little white box, as you’ll see in the video of their test below.

Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly greatly improved upon their score of 60.6 from Plantation Field, when the horse came a bit undone, to round out the top five on a score of 48.2. Though the horse is still green to this level, he won the Bromont CCI3* last year, prevailing over a muddy Derek di Grazia track in the process. He’ll be in his element tomorrow.

Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair’s test had some killer moments, but some bobbles in the canter work kept them from challenging Boyd for the lead, with the score of 49.6 putting them into sixth place. The winner of the big Plantation Field CIC3* class last month, Maya and Cody are another of our top 10 picks for the weekend.

Those are the only scores we’ve seen in the 40s so far, but there are still many talented combinations to come in the afternoon group, including Kurt Martin and Anna Bella, Katy Groesbeck and Oz the Tin Man, Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights, Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF, Buck Davidson and Petite Flower, and Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa.

In the CCI2*, Matt Brown and Happenstance still hold the lead on 40.1, with Victoria Jessop and Desert Mystery coming dangerously close to challenging that with a beautiful test for 41.3 early this morning. Lynn Symansky and Osborne 9 also put in an impressive performance for third place on a score of 41.8, and Caroline Martin expertly piloted a very fit Pebbly Maximus to cruise into the top 10 on 47.3.

The 5-year-olds just finished the jumping phase of the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, with Will Coleman and Vagabon de Champdou winning on 81.5. We’ll have a full report on that later in the day, and there’s still much more to come from Fair Hill, including the conclusion of CCI3* and CCI2* dressage, as well as the 4-year-old championships.

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