Fair Hill’s April Horse Trials has started to draw a number of stronger contenders following the date change that moved the competition to two weeks before the Kentucky Three-Day Event. Despite that, every one of the horses entered in a spring CCI4* has chosen to enter the Advanced division instead, leaving the CIC3* wide open for a less experienced horse to take their first win at the level this weekend.
Keep in mind that the FEI dressage scoring has dropped the 1.5 coefficient and is now equivalent to dressage scores at USEF horse trials.
Percentage of pairs expected to score in the 20s: 11.1% (two of 18)
- Long Island T is a strong contender to lead the field on day one. With Boyd Martin in the irons, this gelding has scored consistently in the low 30s and high 20s. Most recently, he put in a personal best of 25.2 in the Advanced at Carolina International.
- Enough Already and Kristen Bond are a pair worth keeping an eye on in the horse’s first CIC3* start. He’s only run one Advanced so far but started off well, scoring 28.1 at Carolina. Maintaining that will put this pair in a good position after the first phase.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
Percentage of pairs expected to go clear in show jumping: 44.4% (eight of 18)
- After nine consecutive clear rounds at the level, Congo Brazzaville C and Mara DePuy broke their streak by adding a single rail at Carolina CIC3*. With an otherwise perfect jumping record over the colored poles, look for these two to clear the slate and begin another clear jumping streak.
- Swiss pair Felix Vogg and Colero have only three starts at this level, but they’ve been strong in the show jumping phase. After an initial rail in Colero’s first CIC3* at Waregem last fall, they have gone on to put in clear rounds at both Strzegom CIC3* and Carolina CIC3*.
Cross Country Machines
Percent of pairs expected to come within 10 seconds of optimum time: 0% (none of 18)
- Waylon Roberts is known for his ability to ride at a fast pace, and he and Kelecyn Cognac proved that in the summer and fall of last year, putting in two consecutive CIC3* rounds inside the time, followed by another with 10 seconds over the time. He’s slowed the pace down a bit this year, and with an eye on the horse’s first four-star at Kentucky later this month, may continue the trend.
- Waylon Roberts‘ less experienced mount Lancaster has also proven he can get within 10 seconds of the time on a good day, clocking in only 2.4 time penalties earlier this spring at Pine Top. He too has slowed down since then in two runs at Red Hills and Carolina.
Jack of All Trades
- Off the Record, ridden by Will Coleman, impressed in his first Advanced start at Carolina, winning despite a downpour on the cross country. In his first start, he scored close to 70% and jumped a clear show jumping round the day after a grueling cross country. If he can put in three solid or improved phases in his first CIC3*, he may duplicate his accomplishment this weekend.
PREDICTED WINNER: Felix Vogg and Colero
Keep Your Eye On
- Will Coleman and Off the Record
- Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac
- Boyd Martin and Long Island T and Ray Price