When Ocala Jockey Club, woulda-been new host of the 2020 USEF CCI4*-L Eventing National Championships, was canceled due to Covid-19, Tryon International Equestrian Center picked up the reins. To be held Nov. 11-15 in Mill Creek, North Carolina, the Tryon International Three-Day Event will host CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-S and CCI4*-L FEI divisions as well as Prelim and Intermediate horse trials.
Hot off the presses, the entry list has been posted here. There are a whopping 81 entries in the CCI4*-L, nearly double that of the 40-odd entered at Fair Hill last year. Which makes sense: however improvised and unexpected, Tryon International now finds itself in the position of being the headline event of a year marked by plot twists and turns that, even nine months ago, none of us could have expected. It will be the only CCI4*-L competition on the East Coast for the 2020 season and it marks the highest level of eventing competition hosted at the venue since the 2018 WEG. Combinations that would have taken a crack at a fall five-star here or abroad have rerouted to Tryon instead, manifesting a uniquely large and competitive field.
Let’s take a look.
Phillip Dutton has claimed the USEF National Four-Star Championship more times than any other rider in this year’s field — in fact, the only rider who has won the event more times than him is five-time winner David O’Connor (1993, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002). Phillip has won the event four times: 2007 and 2004 with The Foreman, 2000 with Drizzle, and 1996 with Sky’s Prospect. He finished fifth last year with Fernhill Singapore and seventh with Z, who’ll return this year to have a crack at the title along with Sea of Clouds.
Four riders in history have won the event twice — Boyd Martin (2011 and 2009), Hannah Sue Burnett (2012 and 2010), Karen O’Connor (2003 and 1989), and Mark Weissbecker (1994 and 1998). Hannah Sue, who took the title in 2012 with Harbour Pilot and in 2010 with St. Barths, has two entries this year: Harbour Pilot — how sweet would a second win be for this longtime partnership? — and Lukeswell. Boyd has three entries in Tsetserleg, On Cue and Blackfoot Mystery. At Chattahoochee Hills last weekend, which wound up being a combined test due to the weather, Tsetserleg finished second to Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, who won Fair Hill in 2016 and will be looking for a repeat performance next month.
A couple more former Fair Hill champions in this year’s field: Jennie Brannigan, who won in 2014 with Cambalda, has three horses entered in Stella Artois, FE Lifestyle and Twilightslastgleam. Tamie Smith, who won in 2015 with Mai Baum, is coming east with her formidable string of Fleeceworks Royal, Danito and En Vogue. Historically speaking, west coast riders have done well for themselves when they come east for Fair Hill — if you’re going to haul across the country you know it’s serious! In addition to Tamie’s 2015 victory, Frankie Theriot-Stutes and Chatwin won in 2018, Amy Tryon and Coal Creek won in 2008, and Gina Miles and McKinlaigh won in 2006.
We’re missing last year’s top four National Championship finishers, but a few top 10 2019 combinations are back for a rematch: fourth-placed Sydney Conley Elliott with QC Diamantaire; sixth-placed Meghan O’Donoghue with Palm Crescent; seventh-placed Phillip Dutton with Z; eighth-placed Waylon Roberts with Lancaster; ninth-placed Allison Springer with Business Ben; and 10th-placed Doug Payne with Vandiver.
In addition to past Fair Hill winners noted above, the entry roster is a who’s-who of other Team USA veterans. Team stalwart Buck Davidson has a Fair Hill win in his DNA, so to speak. Bruce Davidson Sr. won Fair Hill in 1992 with Eagle Lion, but FHI is a title that has eluded his son thus far. He came close in 2018, finishing third with the late Archie Rocks; this year he has entered Erroll Gobey, Carlevo and Jak My Style.
Pan Am Games team gold medalists Doug Payne comes forward with Quantum Leap, Starr Witness and Vandiver, who was 10th at Fair Hill last year. Another Pan Am Games team gold medalist and Olympian Lauren Nicholson has two horses entered in Landmark’s Monte Carlo and Paramount Importance. Lauren’s 2018 WEG teammate and 2012 Olympian Will Coleman returns with TKS Cooley and Don Dante. Will Faudree, who won team gold at the 2003 Pan Ams, is entered with Mama’s Magic Way and FRH Ramona. Nations Cup rider and Team USA reserve Liz Halliday-Sharp has been on the hottest of winning streaks this fall and will be one to beat with Deniro Z. Another Nations Cup rider, Caroline Martin, will be one to watch with Danger Mouse and Islandwood Captain Jack.
Two-time Olympic and four-time WEG veteran Jessica Phoenix of Canada is entered with Jessica Wabbit. Two-time Olympic Silver medalist and WEG medalist Clayton Fredericks of Australia will be competing FE Stormtrooper and FE Always In Time. British gold medalist Leslie Law is entered with Voltaire De Tre and First Class. Daniela Moguel comes forward with Cecelia with whom she represented Mexico at the 2015 Pan Am Games and 2018 WEG.
A WIDE-OPEN FIELD
It occurred to me a few paragraphs ago that I’d bitten off a bit more than I can chew with this preview, the FEI database is smoking right now, but suffice it to say there are plenty of pairs to keep your eye on! With a new venue comes the potential for new surprises, and we’ll look forward to a few of those from rookies who have plenty of potential to surprise and impress.
Here’s the CCI4*-L entry list (view complete entry list here). Who will you be cheering on this year?
Arielle Aharoni & Dutch Times
Fylicia Barr & Galloway Sunrise
Alexandra Baugh & Mr Candyman
Woods Baughman & C’est La Vie 135
Andrea Baxter & Indy 500
Maya Black & Miks Master C
Tim Bourke & Quality Time
Zach Brandt & Direct Advance
Jennie Brannigan & Stella Artois / FE Lifestyle / Twilightslastgleam
Mia Braundel & Cashmere
Kate Brown & Victor Z
Hannah Sue Burnett & Harbour Pilot / Lukeswell
Daniel Clasing & MW Gangster’s Game
Will Coleman & TKS Cooley / Don Dante
Sydney Conley Elliott & QC Diamantaire
Nilson Da Silva & Rock Phantom / Magnum’s Martini
Buck Davidson & Jak My Style / Carlevo / Erroll Gobey
Cornelia Dorr & Daytona Beach 8
Phillip Dutton & Sea of Clouds / Z
Lucienne Elms & Mistralou
Jules Ennis & Cooley O
Will Faudree & Mama’s Magic Way / FRH Ramona
Jacob Fletcher & 5o1 Mischief Managed
Matt Flynn & Wizzerd
Clayton Fredericks & FE Stormtrooper / FE Always In Time
Victoria Garland & FE Capricino
Ariel Grald & Leamore Master Plan
Alex Green Kerby & Fernhill Limited Edition
Liz Halliday-Sharp & Deniro Z
Emily Hamel & Corvett
Mallory Hogan & Clarissa Purisima
Holly Jacks Smither & More Inspiration / Candy King
Jennie Jarnstrom-Dennis & Calicia Z
Sara Kozumplik Murphy & Rubens D’ysieux
Lauren Lambert & Fantastique
Leslie Law & Voltaire De Tre / First Class
Marilyn Little & RF Scandalous
Emma Lomangino & Master Frisky
Caroline Martin & Danger Mouse / Islandwood Captain Jack
Boyd Martin & Tsetserleg / On Cue / Blackfoot Mystery
Ashlynn Meuchel & Emporium
Joe Meyer & Johnny Royale
Bobby Meyerhoff & Fortuna
Missy Miller & Quinn
Sara Mittleider & La Paz
Daniela Moguel & Cecelia
Lauren Nicholson & Landmark’s Monte Carlo / Paramount Importance
Meghan O’Donoghue & Palm Crescent
Doug Payne & Quantum Leap / Starr Witness / Vandiver
Michael Pendleton & Steady Eddie
Jessica Phoenix & Jessica Wabbit
Waylon Roberts & Lancaster
Gabrielle Ruane & Lismakeera Brewski
Madeleine Scott & Crosby’s Gold
Booli Selmayr & Millfield Lancando
Tamie Smith & Fleeceworks Royal / Danito / En Vogue
Sydney Solomon & Early Review
Kaelen Speck & Sweet Rebellion
Allison Springer & Business Ben
Megan Sykes & Classic’s Mojah
Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride & Favian
Attendance onsite for TIEC competitions is limited to competitors and their family, barn staff, and essential personnel only and spectators are not permitted. Keep in mind that volunteering is a great workaround. Check the website for details!