The three-year dry spell during which no horses and riders made the Advanced optimum time at Millbrook Horse Trials has officially come to an end. Colleen Rutledge and her homebred Covert Rights were the first combination to clock in under the optimum time of 5 minutes, 54 seconds, which moved the 9-year-old Clydesdale/Thoroughbred gelding from fourth place into the lead on 28.4.
Overnight leaders Kim Severson and her own Fernhill Fearless picked up 3.2 time penalties in the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding’s triumphant return to the Advanced level to slip into second place by 1 penalty point on 29.4. Small but mighty Doesn’t Play Fair, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Jon and Dawn Dofelmier, became the second horse to make the optimum time with Maya Black in the irons to jump up the leaderboard from 13th to third on 31.5.
Colleen and CR and Maya and Cody were ultimately the only two horse-and-rider combinations to jump double clear in the Advanced division, and, as is always the case at Millbrook, time penalties proved to be extremely influential. Just one rail separates the top four, which means tomorrow’s show jumping finale is going to be an absolute nail-biter.
Three-time Millbrook winners Buck Davidson and Carl and Cassie Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM are sitting in that fourth-place slot on 32.1 after the 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding jumped clear with 4.0 time penalties. Lynn Symansky and The Donner Syndicate’s Donner, a 12-year-old off-track Thoroughbred gelding, sat in second place after dressage and picked up 6.0 time penalties to now round out the top five on 33.9.
Buck has an impressive three rides in the top 10 of this big division. He’s also sitting in sixth place on 35.7 with D.A. Adirmo, a 10-year-old Dutch gelding owned by Debbie Adams, after jumping clear with 4.4 time penalties. He’s also in 10th place on 39.9 with Lisa Darden’s Be Mine; the 9-year-old Rheinlander gelding jumped out of his skin today in his Advanced cross country debut to finish clear with 6.8 time.
Phillip Dutton is also enjoying multiple rides in the top 10, with Tom Tierney and Simon Roosevelt’s Fernhill Cubalawn, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, in seventh on 35.9 thanks to a clear trip with 6.0 time penalties. His new ride Mr. Candyman, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Caroline Moran, Annie Jones and Bridget Colman, is in ninth on 38.5 after a clear round and 8.8 time penalties. A total of 11.5 time penalties separate the top 10; every rail will prove expensive tomorrow.
Sara Kozumplik-Murphy and Debbie Foote’s Fly Me Courageous win the Big Mover Award after rocketing up the leaderboard from 26th to eighth place thanks to the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding delivering one of the fastest trips in the division. Their clear round and 1.2 time penalties has them on a score of 36.4.
Holly Payne Caravella and Never OutFoxed, a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by the Fox Syndicate, also jumped clear with 1.2 time to move from 40th all the way up to equal 13th place. That gives Holly two rides in the top 15, as she’s also in 11th on a score of 40.0 with Bethann Groblewski’s Santino, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, thanks to a clear trip and 11.2 time penalties.
Tremaine Cooper’s course rode very smoothly overall, with 91 percent of the starters jumping clear — though 96 percent had time penalties. Scoring wizard Rick Dunkerton kindly sent EN the detailed fence report, so here’s a breakdown of what happened wear. Problems cropped up at five fences on course: the new hanging log and ditch at fence 4, the big table at fence 7, the infamous tree trunk skinny at fence 9, the water complex at fence 14, and the coffin at fence 18.
Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch, who were sitting tied for seventh place after dressage, picked up 20 jumping penalties after a runout at the tree trunk skinny at fence 9b. Daryl Kinney and Union Station also recorded their 20 at that fence. Sara Gumbiner and Polaris had a runout at fence 9 and then another at the coffin at fence 18 for a total of 40 jumping penalties.
Andrea Davidson and Mystic had two refusals at fence 4 and then picked up a third at 14b in the water, which sadly eliminated them. Diana Burnett was the only rider to part ways with her horse, Bonner’s Cheif II; their fall occurred at fence 7. Kim Severson withdrew Cooley Cross Border before cross country, as did Eliza Farren with MYSUGAMAMA. That gives us 51 horses that will move forward to tackle Marc Donovan’s show jumping course tomorrow.
Stay tuned for comments from your Millbrook Advanced top three — Colleen Rutledge, Kim Severson and Maya Black — as well as more photos and new editions of Who Jumped It Best? You can relive the cross country action in EN’s open thread here, and be sure to check out photos from the day on EN’s Instagram. Go Millbrook. Go Eventing.