Fair Hill International celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and is still considered the best preparatory event for horses seeking to make the move up to the Kentucky Three-Day Event in the spring. The CCI3* field this year has quite a few heavy-hitters, and talented newcomers should also make for an exciting mix in Maryland this weekend.
- The leader after dressage has won the CCI3* for the last three consecutive runnings. The past three runnings of this event have also resulted in a slightly higher-than-average rate of pairs making the time.
- Over the past four runnings, 28 of 185 starters (15.36%) have made the optimum time on cross country, compared to a world-wide average of 12.92%. A similar rate would result in approximately seven pairs making the time this weekend.
- Despite the large numbers of those who make time, only two or fewer horses have finished on their dressage score in three of the last four runnings. In 2014, no one managed to do it, while in 2016 a high of seven pairs accomplished the feat.
- Boyd Martin and Long Island T have delivered tests over 70% in five of their seven Advanced/3* tests this year, including a 22.9 at Millbrook. Their two-year dressage average of 27.6 for the level is the best in the field.
- Chatwin is another to keep an eye out for in the top position after dressage, with a two-year average of 27.8 for the level with Frankie Theriot Stutes. He has broken the 75% barrier three times in the 2018 season.
- Pavarotti and Jessica Phoenix have been the picture of consistency at the Advanced/3* level in this phase, scoring in the 20s in every start at those levels in 2018. Their average over the last two years is 29.5.
Cross Country Machines
- After taking over the ride on Archie Rocks this spring, Buck Davidson quickly showed that the horse has quite a turn of foot. With an average cross country pace only 7.2 seconds slower than the fastest pace of the day, these two have the quickest average pace in the field paired with a reliable record. They average 4.4 time penalties but have been within 10 seconds of the fastest pace in three of their five runs together.
- Landmark’s Monte Carlo and Lauren Kieffer have well established speed at the CCI levels, with an average time penalty of only 1.6 at the CCI3* level versus an average of 8.4 at the Advanced/CIC3* levels. Although they’ve only finished inside the time at one CCI start, they’ve finished no more than seven seconds over optimum at any of their CCI runs.
- Chatwin is another who has made his runs at the CCI3* level count under Frankie Theriot Stutes, with an average of only 1.2 time penalties in runs at Bromont and Rebecca. These two have finished 10 seconds behind the leader in each CCI3* run, a touch faster than their average pace at Advanced/CIC3* level, which is 12.5 seconds behind the fastest time.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
- Congo Brazzaville C and Mara DePuy are one of the most careful pairs in North America and have never had a rail when cross country was run before stadium, including their two CCI3* completions. These two have only had two rails in their 14 rounds at the Advanced/3* levels.
- Will Faudree and Pfun have never had a rail at a CCI3 or CCI4*, and have never had a rail at any Advanced or CIC3* when cross country came before stadium.
- Lindsay Kelley and Cooley Cruise Control are attempting their first CCI3*, but at the Advanced/CIC3* levels they’ve had one rail in six rounds, including once when stadium was the final phase.
- The jumping bean Corvett has a stellar record under Emily Hamel in his first year at this level— just one rail in five starts.
- Up until Morven Park, Bendigo had never had a rail at the Advanced/3* levels — six consecutive clear rounds out of seven. He and Ema Klugman will be looking for their first completion at the level this weekend.
Jacks of All Trades
- Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude are making their fourth consecutive attempt at Fair Hill, a place they have historically run much faster than their average pace. A mid-30 averages on the flat will keep this pair out of the top after dressage, but at the CCI3* level they average only five seconds over optimum time, including two clear previous runs inside the time at this event. They’ve also added nothing to their score on the final day in their last two CCI3* starts.
- The loss of the dressage coefficient has changed a lot of things for a horse like Cisko A. Under Sydney Conley Elliot, Cisko A has averaged mid-to-high 30s on the flat but has proven on at least three occasions to be within five seconds of the fastest horse in the field. On the final day, this pair has been a one or none horse in all but one of their stadium rounds at the level.
PREDICTED WINNER: Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin
Keep Your Eye On:
- Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo
- Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude
- Boyd Martin and Long Island T