William Fox-Pitt and Chilli Morning brought down the house at Rolex this afternoon with an incredible test to move into first place on a 33.3, crushing Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe’s 40.8 test from yesterday. This horse is so lovely and almost mesmerizing to watch — a perfect picture of harmony and rhythm. I predicted William and Chilli Morning to win in my Rolex preview, and they have certainly put themselves in an excellent position with that performance. If Chilli Morning does in fact win, he will become the first stallion to do so in the history of Rolex. He was fifth at Pau last year and won the Blenheim CCI3*, so Chilli Morning certainly has the talent and experience to pull off a victory this weekend. William is also currently sitting in seventh place on a 47.2 with his second ride, Seacookie TSF. If William wins here this weekend, he will carry a lot of momentum forward into next weekend, when he was a chance to clinch the Rolex Grand Slam with a win at Badminton.
Heather Gillette and Our Questionaire scored a 58.7 to move into 21st place. Questie almost didn’t make it to Rolex after a trailering accident left him with a nasty wound following Poplar Place. But Heather and her team worked incredibly hard to get this horse here, and he looked great today. Questie appeared very obedient and most notably had really excellent changes. This pair competed at Rolex on 2011 but retired on cross country; they’ll be looking to make it around tomorrow. Kendal Lehari and Daily Edition put in a solid test for their Rolex debut to sit in 30th place on a 63.2. This horse has a lovely trot, and Kendal really got to show him off in the extended trot. He spooked a bit at the judge’s box at E during the free walk, but Kendal settled him well. Aside from missing on a change and looking tense at points, this was a really nice test for this pair.
Rachel Jurgens looked absolutely elated after finishing her test with Ziggy. This pair is also making their four-star debut, and Ziggy was very cooperative and quiet until the reinback, when he became a bit argumentative. But Rachel settled him well during the canter work, and they had some really excellent changes. Rachel and Ziggy scored 67 to tie for 35th with Maddie Blackman and Gordonstown. Lindsey Oaks and Enchantez were the first to go after the lunch break when spectators were still settling into their seats, so they were a bit unlucky in that there was more buzz coming from the stands than usual. Enchantez handled the atmosphere as well as can be expected for a horse making a four-star debut; this pair scored 70.7 to sit in 38th. We have six more rides to go to wrap up dressage here at Rolex. Marilyn Little and RF Demeter will kick off the final group of rides at 2:40 p.m.