Do we have any Family Guy fans in the house? Our fun fact about 'Stewie' is that he is named after the violent and villainous baby on FOX's hit cartoon series Family Guy. Eventing Nation has had the opportunity to keep track of Holly's path to Rolex through her EN guest blogs, which has been tremendously fun, and I expect the best is yet to come. Stewie is very energetic *understatement* young little horse, but Holly does a super job managing his emotions. Holly and Stewie have finished inside the top ten placing in 10 of their 12 advanced level competitions together. A rider fall at the Jersey CCI3* is their only issue on XC in the last 2 years and their dressage is improving each time out. I think the tension of the Rolex environment will keep Stewie from showing his best stuff, but a steady weekend will set them up well for making the team next year.
Sara was the highest placed young rider at Rolex in '05, '06, and '07 and holds the record as the youngest rider ever to complete Rolex. However, Sara is older now and pressure is on to ride like the experience she has. Bred in Idaho, 'Tony' is 2/4 lifetime on 4* cross country courses, collecting a stop at Rolex '05 and retiring at Burghley in '07, but he jumped around Rolex '06 and '07 finishing 14th and 12th respectively. I expect Tony to jump around on Saturday and a finish just inside the top-10 would be a great weekend overall.
While I am not nearly the gentleman that Mr. Wofford is, I too refuse to discuss in print the rumors that surround Karen regarding her tattoo-so stop sending me emails people! If and when there is a police report involving the tattoo, we will of course publish that in its entirety. Mandiba has all the tools to carry Karen to the promised land this fall, but they need to get around this weekend. The trick this weekend is for Mandiba to be efficient enough around most of the course so that he can have time to study the technical questions, but he doesn't have to be the fastest horse on Saturday to have a very successful weekend. Karen delivers in the clutch, and this weekend won't be different: top 10 lock.
Another member of the O'Connor Event Team, Lauren is Jimmy's pick for the highest placed Rolex rookie, and for good reason. Lauren has developed as part of OCET into one of our country's brightest rising stars, and I guarantee this is the first of many Rolex appearances for Lauren. Lauren and 'Snooze,' a 15.3 Chestnut Anglo-Arabian, have grown up together and they bring a quality past performance record to Rolex with only clean XC rides since early 2009, and just 3 rails in their last 7 events. I bet that time on XC and maybe in SJ will hurt their final placing a bit, but I expect a quality weekend from Lauren and Snooze.
Michele and Amistad have had a tumultuous spring, with wins in the advanced at Chattahoochee and Pine Top and a 2nd at Rocking horse, but also a withdraw after a stop on XC at Poplar, and a fall at The Fork. Their most recent event was the win at Chattahoochee last weekend, and hopefully they can keep the momentum for a quality Rolex weekend.
Amy Tryon and Coal Creek: Team Tryon
Once Phillip, Buck, and Oliver withdrew a few of their horses, it left Amy with the best one-two arsenal in the field. 'Devon' is considerably less experienced than his stable mate Leyland, but his record shows that he should not be underestimated. Amy believes (very wisely in my opinion) that horse trials should be viewed as preparation for three-days, so Devon has time penalties at most of his horse trials, but he made the time when it counted at Fair Hill 2008 and won that event. I expect Devon to have a steady trip around Rolex with some time, but a sub-50 dressage test and a clean show jumping could still put them in the top 10, and certainly the top 20.
Jennifer and The Good Witch stormed onto the 4* scene a couple of years ago with an 11th at Pau in 2007, and a 7th at Rolex '08. After a fall at Rolex last year and a stop at Burghley, they still find themselves on the B-list, but they need a clean round this weekend to stay there. On the upside, this pair has a very good show jumping record and they can make the time on XC. If they get around, I like them for a top 10 finish. Yes, I understand that is probably the 15th pair I have said could finish in the top 10, but you get the idea.
This is a tough pair to figure out, with 8 withdraws or retires in their last 13 events. They did win at Poplar Place earlier this spring, but a solid XC ride and a good completion should be their goal at Rolex.
Oliver Towend and Ashdale Cruise Master (GBR): Oliver's Website
Ashdale Cruise Master is Jimmy's pick to win Rolex. Oliver is one of the best riders in the world, he won two 4*'s last year, he is riding for more money than any eventer in history, and the pair won their last full outing before Rolex, a CIC3* at Burnham Market. What's not to like? If I had to nitpick, I would point out that Ashdale was eliminated and had a stop in his two previous four-stars, admittedly with a different rider. Oliver gives me that feeling that he will finish on his dressage score no matter what, so I like this pair to finish in the top 5, but maybe not to win.
On a personal note, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started these previews and each one probably averaged 15-20 minutes. So, we are not going to do Badminton previews, and next year they will be shorter. I will probably give my top 10, top 3, and a pick to win in the next couple of days. Go eventing.
Buzzterbrown Brilliance: In anticipation of the 2010 event, Buzzterbrown edited this compilation of videos and photos from 2009. As always, Buzzter's videography is mind-blowing. His lighting is consistently excellent in the Great Outdoors, his editing is creative and smooth. But this video...this is my favorite so far. Be sure to visit Buzzterbrown's channel to watch a longer version of 2009 Rolex highlights.
45 of the 72 current Rolex entries are entered in the CIC3* or Advanced this weekend, which means we will get to see all but a couple US Rolex horses in action together.
OK, I think you get the hang of this bracket thing, and I'm running on fumes from foal-watching, so we'll keep it short. Today: (4) Prince Panache vs. (5) Mr. Maxwell, and (4) Ringwood Cockatoo vs. (5) Get Smart. Vote. Comment. Enjoy.
It was all chalk again, with both (3) seeds defeating the (6)s. Out and About fought bravely, but Heyday moves on to meet his stablemate Eagle Lion in the Sweet Sixteen. True Blue Girdwood dispatched Messiah, and will face a daunting challenge in Charisma next round.
Comment of the day:
From the valued poster "lec," who knows anything and everything from the International side of the bracket. Always insightful and worth reading her comments!
And, I just had to include this one from Anonymous:
By the way... DUKE really does suck.
(Anonymous, if you reveal yourself and are sincere in your agreement, I hereby award 50 votes to any horse of your choice!!) [Ed note: I'm not sure we can do this legally, is that fair???] [John's note: Sorry, Vis., but seeing as how Duke pumps out legions of highly ugly trained lawyers and investment bankers each year, I'm afraid of EN making too many enemies in high places. Also, Duke really has nothing to do with horses, unless we are back to talking about the coeds... Ok, but really, Duke is a great school, I encourage all of our young readers to get good grades and join the chess club so that you can apply to Duke someday, and I might even apply to the Duke law school eventually, so I don't really hate Duke. Just their basketball team and their funny looking coach.] [Ed note: John, that's horrible and completely irrelevant to eventing] [John's note: get your own website Ed]
4. PRINCE PANACHE
Mr. Maxwell was one of the early horses that put Karen O'Connor (then Lende) on top of the US eventing world. Together, they won Rolex CCI*** in 1991, were 3rd Burghley CCI*** 1991. Tragedy struck at Badminton in 1992 when the pair missed their line at the Vicarage Vee, causing a fatal fall for the chestnut gelding. Karen remembers him as a senstive horse with a huge heart, and "such a great friend." [via Visions of Eventing by Elisabeth Furth, p. 8]
BRITISH ISLES REGION
4. RINGWOOD COCKATOO
Considered by some to be the most successful German event horse of all time, "Cocky" was certainly one of the most talented. When you combined one of the best eventing dressage riders on the planet with the best eventing dressage horse on the planet, the team regularly entered the weekends with leads exceeding five points. Cocky won ten CCI and CIC 3*'s in his career, finished second at Kentucky in 2009, and won the Pau CCI4* in 2008. Except for the controversial start/finish line ruling at Athens, Ringwood Cockatoo would have won individual and team Olympic gold.
5. GET SMART
The ENCAA Bracket Battle gallops on with the 2 vs 7 seeds from the O'Connor Region and the British Isles Region. Custom Made seems confident in his match-up with The Optimist, while the spunky Anglo-Arab Tamarillo takes on Pippa Funnell's Supreme Rock. The battles will be getting a little tougher as we work into the bracket, so choose wisely. Vote for your favorite to send them on! Sing your praises or grunt your grumbles in the comment section...noteworthy comments may be rewarded with extra votes toward a horse of your choice.
Here's a great comment from Polly about Bally Mar, the daughter of yesterday's challenger, Bally Cor:
RESULTS FROM YESTERDAY:
Despite the 10 bonus votes, (8) Bally Cor still fell victim to (1)Dan Domination by the score of 177-103 (as of 12:00 PM). (1) Ready Teddy handled (8) Darien Powers fairly easily, winning 177-74 . Winsome Adante will face either (4) Poggio or (5) JJ Babu in the Sweet Sixteen. Ready Teddy moves on to meet (4) Bounce or (5) Peppermint Grove.
2. CUSTOM MADE
7. THE OPTIMIST
The Optimist [Bill] helped to launch Karen's incredible eventing career, being the first horse to bring her a major three-day victory, and her first ride to get named as part of an Olympic squad. In 1984, The Optimist and Karen were the first American pair to win the Boekelo CCI3* in Holland. Karen and The Optimist competed for US Olympic squad at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. As an interesting twist, Jimmy came out of retirement to ride The Optimist for Karen at Rolex in 1986 and won that three-day.
BRITISH ISLES REGION
The Anglo-Arab Tamarillo "Tam" got his start as a show horse (go figure) and actually won Part Bred Championship at the National Arabian Horse Show in 1995 at age 3. Fortunately for us all, the insanely athletic Tam found his way to Wiliiam Fox-Pitt and the pair had a successful career, including 2nd at Badminton twice, a victory at Badminton in 2004, a victory at Burghley in 2008, and 2nd at the European Championships in 2005. Tamarillo had several untimely injuries that prevented him from fulfilling William's Olympic goals, including having to withdraw from Athens after a stifle injury.
7. SUPREME ROCK