Morven Park has long offered a final Advanced run as a prep for Fair Hill International and several years ago began offering a CIC3* as well. Although the weather can sometimes be challenging at this time of year in Leesburg, Virginia, this weekend promises to be fairly perfect.
Quite a few heavy hitters have defected to the Advanced or Advanced Championships at Morven, but the CIC3* field remains stronger than it has been in recent years, with several key horses headed next to Fair Hill.
- The winner of the Morven Park CIC3* has been in first after dressage in three of the last four years.
- Only two pairs have made the time in this division since 2014, out of 27 starters. If the percentage holds, only one pair is likely to make the time this weekend.
- Caroline Martin has partnered well with The Apprentice since taking over the ride in 2017, scoring in the 20s in their first 3* together and recently replicating and bettering that overseas at Houghton Hall and Bramham, scoring in the 28-range each time. Their two-year average of 31.5 is the best in the field this weekend.
- Sportsfield Candy has scored over 70% in two of his three outings this spring under the tutelage of Phillip Dutton. He recently led the Plantation Field CIC3* after the dressage phase, and could do the same again this weekend.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
- Going into Plantation Field, Sportsfield Candy had never had a rail at this level with Phillip in the irons, and he extended that streak to seven. Although the occasional time penalty can occur, Phillip has yet to have a jump penalty in the show jumping phase at this level with this horse.
- In five rounds at this level, Lindsay Kelley and Cooley Cruise Control have jumped clear in all but one round, incurring just a single rail at Millbrook.
Cross Country Machines
- Caroline Martin has historically been very quick aboard The Apprentice, making time in two of their five Advanced/CIC3* cross country runs and coming home within 15 seconds of the leader in four of those five runs. They average just 3.6 time penalties for the level.
- Confidence Game only has two complete runs at this level but nevertheless has established himself as a speed horse under Colleen Rutledge. He has completed both runs only 16 seconds slower than the fastest time of the day, marking him as one of the faster pairs in this field.
- Pfun has also been one of the swifter pairs in his Advanced/CIC3* starts over the last two years; he and Will Faudree average only 18.3 seconds slower than the fastest time on cross country day in that time period.
PREDICTED WINNER: Caroline Martin and The Apprentice
Keep Your Eye On …
- Phillip Dutton and Sportsfield Candy
- Will Faudree and Pfun
- Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan