While the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event has long been considered a destination event for West Coast riders, they proved today they didn’t just cross the country for a scenic road trip; they’re here to win. Frankie Thieriot Stutes and The Chatwin Group’s Chatwin are leading the charge, scoring 44.5 to win the CCI2* dressage.
This horse has been on a hot streak for his last four FEI events, winning them all with a finishing score of 46 or better — two with Frankie in the irons (Fresno CIC* on 38.3 and Galway Downs CIC2* on 40.0) and two during her pregnancy when her trainer Tamie Smith temporarily took the ride (Copper Meadows CIC2* on 46.1 and Galway Downs CCI2* on 41.5).
Frankie said she thought today’s test didn’t quite stack up to their performance in the Galway Downs CIC2* last month, which scored 40.0, but emphasized she was very happy with his attitude in the ring. “I thought Galway was the best test he’s done, even though I did have a big bobble when we trotted in the counter canter, but I thought it had the most excitement to it,” she said.
“He’s so wonderful that he almost goes in the ring and is focusing so much that he loses a little bit of the spark. I thought the test today was really good, but when I thought back on a few things, that first halt he wants to trot right off … He also usually doesn’t get stuck in his first walk pirouette, so I was a little bummed with myself there.”
This is Frankie’s first time competing on the East Coast since 2013 and her first trip to Jersey Fresh. She and Chatwin need to complete a CCI2* as a combination to obtain their qualifier to compete in a CIC3*, a goal she’s hoping to aim for this fall. They were on their way to securing that qualifier at Twin Rivers last month, where they led the two-star after dressage on 43.7.
“Unfortunately he got a bug bite on his ankle and it got swollen. He was completely fine about half an hour after we would have gone cross country, but I just didn’t want to risk it with him. I didn’t think it was worth it. We had to re-route to find a different two-star. It worked out for the best because we need to gain a little more exposure and do things more out of our comfort zone,” Frankie said.
“It was a last minute decision to come out here, but I’m super glad we did. It’s what both Chatwin and I need … Part of my goal was to see where we stack up. The riders on the West Coast are great and there are some fantastic horses, but the level of competition (on the East Coast) is a higher level. I wanted to see if we stack up against that.”
So far Frankie and Chatwin are proving they stack up, and Frankie emphasized that it wouldn’t have been possible for her to compete at Jersey Fresh without Tamie’s help. “She brought my horse out here for me. She helped me ride him last week so I could go home (after Rolex) to be with my baby. I’m so grateful to her for that in addition to coaching me.”
Holly Payne Caravella and Bruisyard Hall are holding second place in the CCI2* after dressage on a score of 46.3. The 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Shelby Godfrey is competing in his first CCI2* here at Jersey Fresh, and that score is a significant improvement on his score of 54.1 in the CIC2* at Carolina International in March, where they finished 20th.
Bred in California, “Bruges” is off the track (Sought After – The Borg Queen, by Fruition) and raced 17 times under the Jockey Club name Inbetweenthesheets. He retired from the track in 2012 and dabbled in the lower levels before Holly took over the ride last year. She moved him from Training to two-star in 14 months! That is seriously impressive, ya’ll. Go OTTBs!
Mara DePuy and Congo Brazzaville C and Tamie Smith and Lagos Star are sharing third place on the CCI2* leaderboard on a score of 47.1. “Congo,” a 9-year-old Dutch gelding Mara owns with David and Mary Clark Regamey, has been steadily improving his dressage scores at this level, and 47.1 bests his score from the CCI2* at last year’s Jersey Fresh by five points.
Lagos Star, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Chuck and Peggy Moore, is another horse competing in his first CCI2* this weekend. “Lagos” is coming off a win in the Fresno CIC2* in March on 43.9 and a second-place finish in the Galway Downs CIC2* on 53.6. This horse is another West Coast hot shot to watch.
Speaking of West Coast hot shots, the West Coast Dempsey Syndicate’s Dempsey delivered by far the best test of his career this afternoon in his CCI3* debut with Tamie Smith, scoring 46.4 to lead the division after the first six horses did their tests late this afternoon. The 8-year-old Dutch gelding can get tense in this phase, but he found his zen place today!
Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best, a 9-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Don Good, scored 49.2 for second place. Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Annie Jones, Bridget Colman, Caroline Moran and Tom Tierney, scored 51.4 for third place.
But the leaderboard is bound to shuffle tomorrow as we have a full day of CCI3* dressage ahead of us. Click here to check out EN’s predictions on who we think will take the win. There’s been plenty of action today at Jersey Fresh, with the first horse inspection held early this morning. Click here if you missed that report.
Everyone please make note that due to the schedule changes some ride times have shuffled around. Click here to see the latest PDF of ride times and keep checking the Competitors page on the Jersey Fresh website for updates. And don’t forget to check EN’s Instagram for tons of photos from the event! Go Eventing.