We’re in the final stretch of Olympic qualifiers, with Bromont and Bramham this weekend as the final selection trials for the U.S. team. Canada is also using Bromont as its final selection trial for Rio. A healthy contingent of 25 horses have made their way north to contest Canada’s only CCI3*.
The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-A. Derek di Grazia designs the cross country course; he has also been selected as the course designer for the 2018 World Equestrian Games at this venue. Marc Donovan designs the show jumping course.
1. Jennie Brannigan and Catalina: Catalina has had some highs and lows this season, beginning with a strong second place at Red Hills and most recently being forced to withdraw from Jersey Fresh after Jennie fell from another horse earlier in the day. This pair will be out guns blazing to prove they are still on form.
Catalina has performed this test once, scoring an impressive 44.4 at Red Hills, which would likely put them in the lead from the get-go this weekend. These two don’t pussyfoot around on cross country, accumulating only 3.2 time penalties when running over Derek di Grazia’s Fair Hill course last fall. They also jumped double clear over Marc Donovan’s Plantation Field course last fall. Similar performances in all three phases would give Jennie and Catalina the win come Sunday, with a score in the high 40s.
2. Ryan Wood and Woodstock Bennett: Ryan Wood is on a roll after winning the Jersey Fresh CCI3* with Powell, and while Woodstock Bennett doesn’t quite have the dressage chops of his stablemate, he’s no slouch either. A strong spring record going into his first CCI3* will keep this horse in play for the future.
Woodstock Bennett hasn’t yet performed this test, but averages 52.3 overall for the level. Ryan and Bennett came home with only 8.8 time penalties over Derek’s Fair Hill Advanced course this April, which is a good bit faster than their typical pace. This horse leans towards double clears over Marc Donovan courses, which would be good enough to give Ryan another top CCI3* placing, finishing second with a score just over 60.
3. Will Faudree and Pfun: Will and Pfun enjoyed a strong spring season before an early runout at Jersey Fresh in the horse’s first CCI3*. Will retired after in order to re-route Pfun up to Bromont this weekend.
Pfun is another who hasn’t performed the A test yet, but this pair averages a solid 51.9 in dressage. These two have averaged 7.2 time penalties over Derek’s courses, and they tend to pull one rail when jumping Marc Donovan’s designs. Look for Will and Pfun to round out the top three with a score in the low 60s.
4. Waylon Roberts and Kelecyn Cognac: Waylon was forced to scratch Kelecyn Cognac from Rolex at the eleventh hour, and they’ve re-routed in hopes of gaining an Olympic berth with the Canadian team. These two are one of the more experienced pairs here, and a strong finish would make a good case for Rio.
Kelecyn Cognac averages a 53.4 in this particular test, which would put him in stalking range of the leaders. A very swift average of 1.6 time penalties when running over Derek di Grazia courses would see these two rise near the top after the second phase. This horse does average two rails and one time penalty over Marc Donovan’s courses, right in line with his overall average. A final score less than a point behind Pfun would put Waylon and Kelecyn Cognac in fourth place.
5. Sharon White and Cooley On Show: Sharon is bringing this striking gray north for his first attempt at a CCI3*. After having an abbreviated fall season last year due to Sharon’s back surgery, this pair is well on track to making a name for themselves this spring.
Cooley On Show hasn’t done this test yet, but averages a 52.9 overall for the level. This pair tends to accumulate an average of 8.4 time penalties, although this will be the first time they have seen one of Derek’s courses. They average one rail over Marc’s designs as well, on track with their overall record. Cooley On Show and Sharon White should round out the top five with a score in the mid-60s.
THE DARK HORSE
Kylie Lyman and Sacramento: The recent winner of the CIC3* at Jersey Fresh, Sacramento has proven he has all the pieces and can put them together in one weekend. He can score in the low 50s, run clean across the country within 10 seconds of the optimum time, and put in a double clear show jumping round. As Kylie and Sacramento gain more experience their consistency will improve, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them in the top five this weekend as they both make their CCI3* debut.
Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop: Kylie has more than one talented young horse in her arsenal, and Lup the Loop is another to keep an eye on. He has put in the FEI equivalent of low-to-mid 40s dressage scores in his Advanced tests, but hasn’t quite replicated that at the three-star level. He has yet to have a rail at this level, but has ranged from one second over optimum time to more than 80 seconds over. This pair could challenge for the win this weekend if they can put all the pieces together.
Matt Brown and Talking Point BCF: With only two runs under his belt at this level, Talking Point BCF is one of the greener horses competing this weekend. Despite his inexperience, this horse has put in scores in the low 40s and high 50s and already proven he can jump a clear round in the show jumping. After a steady but clean go across the country in their first attempt over a rain-soaked Derek di Grazia course at Fair Hill, Matt pressed on the gas a bit for Jersey Fresh. These two could be serious contenders by the fall.
Number of entries: 15
Pairs to watch:
- Hannah Sue Burnett and Under Suspection
- Hannah Sue Burnett and Cooley Dream
- Colleen Loach and Qorry Blue D’Argouges
- Caroline Martin and Effervescent
- Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High
- Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance