Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen didn’t quite catch their four-star personal best on the second day of dressage here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, scoring 33.6 to easily top the leaderboard at the lunch break. But when your personal best is a 33.3 and you missed that by just 0.3 points, it’s difficult to be disappointed!
It’s old news by now that Clark and Glen, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Limmerick X Tattymacall Mustard) owned by Jess Montgomery, Kathryn Kraft, and Holly and William Becker, are a formidable combination in this phase. But that doesn’t discount the fact that they delivered an absolutely stellar performance in the Rolex Stadium today to put the pressure on two-time defending winners Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST.
Rocana, a 12-year-old German Sport Horse mare (Ituango xx X Rose II) owned by Joachim and Brigitte Jung, has hit the 34-mark range twice in her four-star career, but she didn’t quite match that today, scoring 37.1 to still sit comfortably in second place and well within striking distance as we look ahead to cross country tomorrow.
Three-time Rolex winner Kim Severson is sitting in familiar territory with Cooley Cross Border, who put in a beautiful performance in his four-star debut for third place on 41.0. His marks were trending right on par with Clark and Glen through much of the test, and while they left points on the table in their flying changes — which Kim has said aren’t quite yet confirmed — this was a very exciting debut for the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Diamond Roller X Whos Diaz) owned by the Cross Syndicate.
It’s been a stellar day of dressage right from the beginning, with Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Deborah Halliday, starting us off right, besting their score from last year by nearly two full points to sit in fourth place on 41.3. Jessica Phoenix and Don Good’s Pavarotti, who led overnight following the first day of dressage, now sit in fifth place on 43.1.
Looking to other notable tests from the morning session, Hannah Sue Burnett piloted Under Suspection to a lovely performance in the mare’s four-star debut, scoring 45.2 to sit in ninth place. The 13-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Mary Ann Ghadban is one of EN’s picks to play spoiler this weekend, so be sure to keep an eye on her tomorrow.
Phillip Dutton gave us the only other test to crack the top 10 so far today, scoring 44.8 with Tom Tierney and Annie Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive, a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, to sit in seventh place. He now has two rides in the top 15, with John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready in 11th, and the Mr. Medicott Syndicate’s Mr. Medicott still to come this afternoon.
EN’s data analyst Maggie Deatrick once again crunched the numbers on the morning scoring, and the sessions varied from the expected averages more than yesterday morning’s sessions. Early on, it looked as if the cool weather may have been creating some tighter horses, as scoring in the first morning session trended 2.0 points above expected averages. A couple of stellar tests in the second session, including Loughan Glen coming close to his personal best four-star score, dropped that session’s average to 1.73 points below expected averages.
In the third session, every horse performed better than their expected score, making the final morning session trend 2.99 points below expectations. However, overall the entire morning averaged only 0.95 points below average, on trend with both yesterday morning and afternoon. As of lunch time, there has been no clear advantage in going on a particular day or time.
The judges continue to track closely with one another, with Loughan Glen receiving the largest difference in marks, equaling I’m Sew Ready’s difference from yesterday. Nick Burton particularly liked Glen’s test, rewarding it with an astonishing 80.0%, while David Lee felt it was ‘only’ worth a 75.0%. Of the entire field, 84.4% received scores that varied no more than 3.5% between the three judges.
It’s unlikely we will see anyone catch Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen’s leading score in the final session, but there are still a number of top horses to watch. If you missed Maggie’s analysis on the dressage powerhouses of day two, now is a good time to catch up ahead of the 1:30 p.m. start time. Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy have cracked the 30s twice at four-star level, so their test at 2:02 p.m. is one to watch for sure.
If you’re just tuning in to EN today, click here to read through our morning open thread and here to scroll through all of our coverage. If you haven’t been watching the live stream on USEF Network or FEI TV, you are missing out on John Kyle’s excellent commentary, along with Karen O’Connor and top riders who are dropping by throughout the broadcast to provide their insight.
Be sure to check out Abby Powell’s Rolex at a Glance post to get to know the riders better, and then click over here for all the details on EN’s 5th Annual Rolex Tailgate, presented by Amerigo. It’s THE place to be on cross country day at Rolex, with food, drinks, trivia, games, celebrity appearances and, of course, a chance to meet Chinch.
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