I’ll never forget the sound of Jon’s voice when I spoke with him from Fair Hill last year about the news that Downtown Harrison had a minor injury and would miss the flight to the Pan American Games. As I wrote then and as Downtown Harrison proved here today, this horse has a bright and happy future ahead of him as a big time international horse. Jon and “Will” worked their way around the horse’s first three-star in the third fastest round of the day to take a dominant 7.6 lead into the show jumping. Having known and worked with Jon for a long time I couldn’t be happier for him and the entire Holling family–Jon’s parents own Will. Jon told me after his ride that he was relieved Will handled the CCI3* distance and speed so well. [Jon's interview after XC]
Video of all of the CCI3* rides:
Michael Pollard just can’t catch a break these past few weeks. He pulled Schoensgreen Hanni up half way through the course. Update: I spoke with Michael and he told me that he pulled Hanni up after she glanced off of a corner in the main arena. He jumped a couple more jumps and Hanni felt fine, but considering the past couple of weeks he decided to retire her. The Hanni Badger is resting happily and comfortably in her stall.
Phillip Dutton gave Atlas an educational ride to add 8.8 time penalties to their dressage score. Despite the time they moved up from 3rd to 2nd. Veteranarian Kevin Keane and Fernhill Flutter continued their excellent season with the fastest XC ride of the CCI3* division to move all the way up from 8th to 3rd.
Boyd Martin and Trading Aces put together a traditional Boyd round in the spots that I saw them–a clear ride was never in doubt. Boyd’s student, Caitlin Silliman, rode with poise beyond her years and guided the True Prospect Farm fire survivor Catch A Star brilliantly around the course.
The Apprentice looked every bit like a horse of the future for Buck, combining a big jump with a big gallop and finishing strongest of all of the CCI3* horses. They are in 6th heading into the show jumping. Elissa Gibbs and Medici showed why cross-country is their favorite phase and “Cooper” smoked around the track to move up from 18th to 8th. Jessica Bortner-Harris unfortunately jumped to the right of a red flag in the back corner complex according to announcer Geoff.
As expected, the combination of a relatively inexperienced field and a big technical Derek Di Grazia course caused some issues today. Of 16 CCI3* starters, none finished within the time, one finished with a stop, two were eliminated, and two retired.
Sometimes you finish a round with a stop but you still had a great ride. Zenith ISF worked his way through the CCI3* track for Leslie Law presenting the picture of a future four-star horse. They finished with a stop but Leslie was all smiles when I spoke to him after the ride. This horse will likely run another three-star in the autumn and then look ahead to Rolex. He jumped a max 3* oxer right in front of me like it was child’s play.
Announcer Geoff Morgan was joined by PRO riders including Doug Payne, Nate Chambers, and Sinead Halpin. They all did a great job and I want to give many thanks to Geoff for keeping everyone updated on what was going on. Stay tuned for our CIC3* Olympic selection recap coming shortly. Go eventing.