Cooley Cross Border knows how to make a comeback, scoring a 25.7 to lead the extremely competitive Advanced division here at Millbrook after the first phase. This is Cross’ first Advanced back since Fair Hill CCI3* last fall, and Kim Severson is delighted to have him back at the level and to be in such a competitive place with both of her horses. With Fernhill Fearless in sixth place and his younger stablemate leading the way, it’s Kim’s game so far this weekend.
Cross came back to action at Loch Moy just a few weeks ago, where he went around the CIC2*, and Kim says he felt great. She was pleased with his test today as well. “Cross was great, except for a few bobbles in his changes, and the goal for this weekend is to make good decisions on cross country tomorrow with both horses, hopefully staying competitive.” Both Cross and Sparky are on Maggie’s list as the Dark Horse pick, so now it’s just a battle of the brothers.
Courtney Cooper came out swinging on her homebred, Who’s a Star, scoring a 26.9 to sit in second place. Tag looked relaxed and fluid for his entire test, and is coming off two confident runs at Intermediate following his first CCI4* this spring at Rolex. Crowd favorites Lainey Ashker tied with Sinead Halpin, both scoring a 27.1 for third place with their long time partners, Anthony Patch and Manoir de Carneville, respectively. If horses are like wine, both Al and Tate are expensive merlots that only get better with time. The old campaigners have been there, done that, and keep getting just a little better every year, and challenging their riders to stay competitive for every event.
Other notable performances include Buck Davidson on his father’s homebred, Petite Flower, who just looked fantastic and scored a 28.2 for fifth place, which gives him two horses in the top ten. Elisa Wallace also did a very good job convincing Simply Priceless to make use of his body correctly in the sandbox, showing us that there is a lot of potential inside of the usually crackling gelding. That performance garnered a 29.6, which was good enough to put her in 9th place overall. This is Elisa’s last event before shipping out to Burghley for the biggest test of her lifetime, so everything is coming together at the right time.
There are fifteen horses within the top five points of this Advanced division, which tells you just how tight this race will be. With Tremaine Cooper’s hilly course that notoriously causes even Buck to have time penalties, I can guarantee you that the leaderboard will not be identical tomorrow afternoon. The ground here is a bit firm, so I am thinking more riders will run slow than not, but this is still a Adequan Gold Cup Event, and there are hungry competitors out there.
Cross country starts tomorrow morning with the Intermediate divisions at 8 a.m., and Advanced beginning at 10:30 a.m. — we’ll have a cross country course preview posted first thing in the morning. In the meantime, please enjoy this photo gallery from the dressage action today!
Many thanks to Marion Latta de Vogel for sharing this Millbrook day 2 highlight video!
Millbrook Advanced Top 15 After Dressage: