Fair Hill is often a nail-biter down to the very last ride on Sunday, with clear rounds shooting people up the ranks while hearts break on the other side of things. It’s a three-phase event for a reason, and show jumping is as much a factor as every other phase for Fair Hill.
Having said that, nine of the last 10 winners in the Fair Hill CCI3* have come from the top two following cross country. The only pair to win from outside the top two was Amy Tryon and Coal Creek in 2008, who rose from sixth to the win on the merits of a fault-free show jumping round.
Similarly, every winner in the past decade has added no more than a rail to their score, with seven of 10 jumping clear. Six of the last seven winners have won on rail-free rounds.
DAY THREE CONTENDERS
Covert Rights and Colleen Rutledge are sitting in the pole position right now, which could make the finale a real nail-biter. Covert Rights has put in a number of clutch double clear rounds, most notably jumping clear at Richland to take the win. He’s jumped two of his three CCI3/4* rounds clear and inside the time, but had two rails at the third. A recent stunner of six rails at Plantation Field throws any reliable predictions further out of whack, but they won’t be dealing with the heat and humidity that was at Plantation.
CCI Average: 0.67 rails, 24-Month Average: 1.43 rails
Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High are hot on their heels but will also likely keep things interesting. At the CCI3/4* level, Selena and Foxwood High have jumped clear but only at their earliest two attempts, followed by an outlier of four rails at the World Equestrian Games, then two rails in each of their subsequent CCI attempts. This pair never has more than two rails apart from WEG, but have struggled all year to get back to one-or-none, putting in one or two rails at every show following a clear at their first event in 2017.
CCI Average: 1.60 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.82 rails
The third placed pair, Tight Lines and Will Coleman, has been a one-or-none horse, with nine of his 10 rounds at this level being one rail or less. Unfortunately, the tenth round was at this event last year, where he pulled four rails for the only time in his career at this level. One rail has been the more frequent occurrence than none in 2017, but these two could be in a very good position to put a lot of pressure on both Selena and Colleen.
CCI Average: 2.50 rails, 24-Month Average: 1.0 rails
Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac have only once jumped a clear three-star round out of 13 attempts. With four and three rails at Richland and Plantation Field CIC3*, respectively, Waylon will be looking to bring the horse back to his previous form of only one or two rails.
CCI Average: 1.50 rails, 24-Month Average: 2.0 rails
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg could be a sleeper today, with a quietly improving show jumping record that has progressed throughout the year. Three of their last four rounds have been clear, although they did have a rail and 1 time penalty in their only CCI3* attempt at Bromont. The numbers say Tsetserleg is less likely than all of the horses ranked above him to have a rail, but he would need rails down from the top two to steal the win.
CCI Average: 1.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.63 rails
Paddy the Caddy with Erin Sylvester, Congo Brazzaville C with Mara DePuy and DeLux Z with Kurt Martin should all see big jumps in their placings if they hold to typical form. In particular, Paddy the Caddy and DeLux Z are both inside the top 10 and could easily pop up into the top five, while Congo Brazzaville C had a steadier cross country round and is now tied for 18th.
Paddy the Caddy has jumped clear rounds in 11 of his 13 starts at Advanced and three-star level, while DeLux Z has jumped 10 consecutive rail-free rounds dating back to the spring of 2016. Congo Brazzaville C has a perfect rail-free record since moving up to the Advanced level at the beginning of 2017 and will jump his first CCI3* round today.
Paddy the Caddy: CCI Average: 0.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.12 rails
DeLux Z: CCI Average: 0.0 rails, 24-Month Average: 0.23 rails
Congo Brazzaville C: CCI Average: N/A, 24-Month Average: 0.0 rails