After standing seventh after dressage with his longtime partner Vandiver (Windfall II – Visions of Grandeur, by Mystic Replica xx), Doug Payne was pleasantly surprised to claim a second consecutive win in the CCI4*-S win at The Fork Three-Day Event at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (this pair also took the title in 2021).
“He was good in all three phases,” Doug said. “He was on a 30 in dressage, which is pretty par for the course; he’s usually between and 28 and 31. He jumped really well, and at this stage of the game he’s a pleasure to have, he’s 18 years and very reliable. We’re lucky to have Debi and Kevin Crowley with us -– they bred him and were able to come see him, and all of that is great, it’s really cool.”
Doug and his wife Jessica traveled from their farm in Rougemont, Nc. with four event horses, their two small children, and a group of students that Jessica was coaching in the adjacent hunter/jumper show.
Jess said they had fun with the kids in Tryon, where the facilities include a dedicated village area with restaurants, an ice cream shop, carousel and little jumps for kids to play with. “We’re lucky we have really good help to watch the kids,” she said. “The kids can come and play –- we also had students in the jumper show that I was coaching, and I was helping Doug in the warm-up, so it’s great she can help with the kids when we need. Tryon is a lot of fun for them, they can eat at the Diner, do the pony jumps and ride their scooters everywhere. You don’t worry about them being in the way of the horses because there’s an area for them to play.”
After freezing weather with gale force winds during last night’s show jumping under the lights, Doug said, “The cross country conditions were just about perfect: the ground was good and I think that run up the hill at the end of the course is super helpful for the horses’ fitness.”
Aiming for Kentucky, he and Quantum Leap (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report), who finished ninth today, will do the 5*, Camarillo (Chicardo – Rehobeth, by Riverman) and Starr Witness (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur) with do the 4*, and Quintessence will do the 3* show jumping.
“We should be in great shape for Kentucky, anything can go wrong but for where we’re at it’s a good group of horses,” Doug commented. “‘Quinn’ is a total known at 18 years old, the other two are eleven and Camarillo is eight, so they’re all just stepping up and of course could have a green moment but it’s a good group of quality horses.”
Doug also rode the stallion Quiberon (Quite Easy – Avalon, by A Fine Romance), who he and Jess own with John Chedle, in the CCI3*-S at The Fork. “It was his second time at this level,” Doug said. “He’s done three international derbies now and jumped to a meter 30; he’s a very special little horse. He’s also at stud, we basically collect him and only offer frozen. He’s been wonderful about it and it’s really exciting that we have weanling that’s by him out of Starr Witness, by surrogate. His legs are insanely long!”
It was a busy weekend for Doug, who also won the CCI2*-S riding Fenix Rouge Du Claux (Chef Rouge – Pixie Queen, by Fleuron de Dun), owned by Anna Antrovius. “He’s been with us for the last three months or so and went back to his owner from here,” he said. “He was with us just to get some mileage –- it was their goal to have him do a two-star this spring and we did our best to prepare him as well as we could. He did a couple events and some jumper shows; they bought him from Dirk Schrade. He’s an exciting horse for her, and she’s looking to continue this year at prelim and just get a bit of experience herself.”
Phillip Dutton and Z, a 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche), finished second in the four-star after moving up from fourth place after dressage and show jumping. The overnight leader Liz Halliday-Sharp, who was still nursing injuries sustained at Red Hills a few weeks ago, took it steady and finished seventh overall after adding 15.2 time faults today with The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Moonshine (Cobra – Kilpatrick Duchess, by Kings Master).
Phillip explained that Z, who is owned by a syndicate, is heading to Badminton. “It was a good preparation,” he said. “Obviously there wasn’t much to do at the water jump, that wasn’t the greatest prep, but overall the course was good and the footing was good. I was pretty shocked by the dressage judging: Z was an 11% difference in marks from two of the judges, and that’s a big difference. As a rider you want to know what’s right and what’s wrong so I think that needs to be looked at. Yes, they were sitting at different angles, but there shouldn’t be that much difference. I think we all put a lot of effort into these horses and they only get to do a couple events in the spring and fall, so it’s disappointing when that kind of thing happens. I was for first at the end, but Doug was faster than I was and closer to the optimum time, so he took the win.”
Phillip also finished fifth on Sea of Clouds (Malibu Moon – Winners Ticket, by Jolie’s Halo), an OTTB owned by a partnership that includes his race trainers, Graham and Anita Motion. “Socs” moved up from 13th after dressage. “He’s a gritty little horse – he raced once or twice and we got him as a three-year-old,” Phillip said. “He’s fast and easy to ride, you can turn him whenever you want. He doesn’t move that big but doesn’t do anything wrong in the dressage. Show jumping isn’t that easy for him but he really tried; we’ve experimented with different warm-ups and different rides in the ring. He’s just a great cross country horse so it’s fun, he just easy to ride.”
Because of Liz’s injuries, Phillip rode Cooley HHS Calmaria (Cyrano 145 – Chester Lass) for her, finishing sixth overall in the CCI3*-S.
“Liz had the fall at Red Hills and I’ve been trying to help her out,” Phillip explained. “I’ve cross country schooled them all while she was injured. She’s a very talented horse, she’s certainly a little on the quirky side but she’s a good mover. She’s still a little green and not very trusting yet, she’s still a little spooky and shy of things but she’s a very good jumper and I think will do a great dressage test at some stage.”
Will Coleman and Off the Record (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay, by Ard Ohio), the Irish Sport Horse that he rode to victory at Aachen last summer, added a few time faults and finished third overall after standing second throughout the weekend. “Both of my horses were incredibly fresh last night,” said Will. “It was cold and windy and the light added a lot of atmosphere; they were good but more on the muscle than I would have liked.”
On cross country, he said, “’Timmy’ was amazing –- I didn’t go for broke, I wanted to set him up for Kentucky and make sure our communication was good and I was really pleased with how he felt. He finished wonderfully.”
Team Rebecca LLC’s DonDante (Pachio – Muckno Clover, by Euro Clover) won Advanced Test A, and Will said he also went well and feels good in his prep for Kentucky. “I much preferred the direction of the course today –- it was one of the better tracks we’ve had here,” he said. “The water could have been tougher but the general flow of the course was good and helped get the horses in a nice rhythm.”
Morgan Batton and I’m Sew Ready Win CCI3*-S
In the CCI3*-S, Morgan Batton and I’m Sew Ready (Lupicor – Jarda, by Elcaro) leapt up the standings from tenth to first thanks to clear show jumping and cross country rounds, finishing on their dressage score of 33.2. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Shanroe Cooley finished second, followed by Samantha Tinney on Glenbrook Cooley. (Not a bad weekend for the Cooley horses — time to crack open the champagne at Cooley Farm in Ireland!)
I’m Sew Ready is an experienced upper-level campaigner that Morgan, who owns two businesses in Aiken, Sc. — The Vista and Hitch and Tow — with her husband Paul, purchased about a year ago from Kristen Bond. Morgan said that she found out she was pregnant with their son as she was considering purchasing the horse, and her husband encouraged her to go ahead and buy him. Obviously she’s glad she did: with their son Lee recently celebrating his first birthday, she is celebrating her first FEI win with the gelding.
Morgan trains with Doug and Jess Payne and they originally made the connection for her to purchase “Jackson”. She previously competed at the three-star level with a Thoroughbred named Toby that she developed herself, and said that she is enjoying her more experienced partner. “He’s really sharp and knows his job,” she said. “On cross country he’s fabulous, he’s great to ride and has a good rhythm. I really wanted to make the time today, but it was totally unexpected to win! It was a bonus that we also earned prize money!”
Thanks for following along with us all weekend at The Fork! Just over two weeks remain before the first horse goes down centerline at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and we can’t wait to see you there!