As if it hadn’t already been a thrilling morning at Tattersalls with Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Revelation scoring 40.6 as the first pair out in the CCI3*, Vittoria Panizzon then delivered the best score of her entire career aboard Chequers Play the Game, a 14-year-old KWPN (Stravinsky X Mirakel, by Lancer II) to lead at the lunch break on 34.5.
Just two riders, Sam Griffiths and Flora Harris, have ever broken into the 30s in the CCI3* at Tattersalls, according to EquiRatings. Vittoria’s score bests Sam’s score of 36.1 and Flora’s score of 37.4 — both from 2015 — to set a new benchmark in the Irish Field CCI3*.
Phillip Dutton and the Revelation Group’s Fernhill Revelation, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse (YOU X Hallo Noble Girl, by Hallo), delivered the best score of their partnership to date to sit in second on 40.6.
“The exciting thing is there’s plenty of room for improvement. We lost some marks in the reinback and the last halt,” Phillip said. ” I am proud of him because he’s a pretty spooky horse, but he got to work and knew what he had to do.”
This is the first time Phillip has ever competed in Ireland, and he said his team has thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The venue here at Tattersalls is truly top notch, with permanent stabling, a cozy groom’s cantina — where the journalists can eat too! — and plenty of atmosphere to give the event a truly international feel.
“It’s a great event and it’s definitely been worth the trip so far,” Phillip said. While he’s only had one quick walk around the cross country course so far, Phillip said the track is definitely stiff.
I also caught up with course designer Ian Stark, who reversed the direction of the track this year and has plenty of challenging questions in store for the riders. Stay tuned for his comments in our full cross country course preview.
We have five Americans and one Canadian competing in the CCI3* at Tattersalls, and Katherine Coleman has been our only other rider to go so far with her own Back to Business II. The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Harlequin Du Carel X Moxella, by Quick Star) scored 57.7 in her CCI3* debut to sit eighth at the lunch break.
“I was really pleased overall but was definitely disappointed in the flying changes. She’s been nailing them in the CICs, so that was a bit gutting,” Katherine said. “I wasn’t sure how she would be making the step up to three-star level this year, but she’s really come out and stepped up to the plate. She’s impressed me so much this season.”
Katherine and “Bizzy” as she is known in the yard — as the mare doesn’t like to stand still! — have jumped clear with an average of 2.5 time penalties in all three of their CIC3* cross country runs this season. She hasn’t yet walked the course, but with plenty of rain expected to fall ahead of Saturday, the ground will almost certainly be soft.
We had beautiful sunny skies for yesterday’s first horse inspection but today’s weather has taken a decidedly Irish turn, with a cold rain falling through the lunch break and expected to continue through the afternoon. Time to break out the rain gear!
Our remaining riders go at the following times:
Kathryn Robinson and Let It Bee: 1:52 p.m./8:52 p.m. EST
Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border: 2:20 p.m./9:20 a.m. EST
Phillip Dutton and Z: 3:24 p.m./10:24 a.m. EST
Buck Davidson and Carlevo: 3:38 p.m./10:38 a.m. EST
You can watch live for free at this link. Sam Watson of EquiRatings is in the commentary box, so be sure to tune in to hear even more statistics and analysis of the CCI3* field. Check back later today for much more from #Tatts2017. Go Eventing.