Marilyn Little’s two rides RF Scandalous and RF Demeter have been battling it out for the top spot on the CCI3* leaderboard all weekend here at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, swapping between the first- and second-place spots after each phase.
RF Scandalous, who sat in second place after a clear cross country round with 4.8 time penalties yesterday, jumped out of order early in the division, delivering a clear show jumping round over Sally Ike’s course to remain on her score of 46.3.
When overnight leader RF Demeter pulled a rail at the first fence of the triple combination, that gave RF Scandalous the CCI3* win and the USEF CCI3* National Championship, with RF Demeter finishing second on 48.6 and taking the USEF National CCI3* Reserve Championship.
“I really couldn’t have had a better day with those two. Scandalous was lovely out there. She came back a little tired (after cross country). It was her first CCI3*, and I was thrilled with her effort and the heart that she showed today. She really stepped up and showed what a horse she is and what an exciting horse she is for the future.
“She’s got a great group of owners behind her that have gotten her to this point: Jacquie Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Mike Manders who were here today, and that made it very special.”
As for the downed rail that slipped RF Demeter down to second place, Marilyn said, “I truthfully thought it was Demi’s weekend. It was just the way that the chips fell, but she’s just as deserving and truly an incredible horse and an incredible partner. She has made my time in eventing so special, and I owe her everything.”
We saw 14 clear show jumping rounds in all, with Hannah Sue Burnett and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection leaving all the poles in the cups to move up three spots on the leaderboard to finish in third place on 49.6.
“She’s a pretty fantastic show jumper; she gives me a lot of confidence in the ring,” Hannah said. “I know if I cluck at her at the base that if I’m a little wrong she’s going to take care of it and try really hard, so I was excited for show jumping today and she really proved that today. She was fantastic.”
Phillip Dutton moved both of his rides into the top five with clear show jumping rounds. John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready jumped out of his skin to finish fourth on 50.8. His usual rider Kristen Bond is expecting her second child to give Phillip the ride once again, and he gave the credit to her for the good result in his first CCI3*.
“Kristen has done most of the work. She’s expecting again, so I get the honor of carrying on with his career a little bit,” Phillip said. “He jumped spectacularly today … He didn’t excite me too much in the warm-up, but then as soon as he jumped fence one, I knew we were going to have a good round because he was trying really hard.”
Mr. Candyman, owned by Annie Jones, Bridget Colman, Caroline Moran and Tom Tierney, finished in fifth place on 52.9, and Phillip said the horse put in an admirable effort today. “It’s pretty unique when the horses go through what they did yesterday and then get out there the next day, and you can tell they’re really trying really hard,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Looking to the rest of the leaderboard, the remainder of the top 10 all jumped clear show jumping rounds. Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude moved from 10th to sixth on 53.5, with Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border jumping from 13th to seventh on 54.8.
Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus and Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent entered show jumping tied for 15th place. Both jumped clear rounds, but Caroline was closer to the optimum time on cross country yesterday to give her eighth place on 55.2, with Meghan in ninth. Will Coleman and Soupcon de Brunet moved up from 17th to round out the top 10 on 55.3.
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