Three of the top five rides came in the last hour of CIC3* dressage at Red Hills, with Boyd Martin — running on no sleep after spending the night with his wife Silva in the hospital — piloting Trading Aces into second place on 41.4, just narrowly missing catching leaders Allie Knowles and Last Call. Boyd and Oscar’s test likely would have cracked the 30s — a feat no pair accomplished today — were it not for some tension in the canter late in the test; that said, their changes were vastly improved from Pine Top Advanced two weeks ago. I can’t help but think Silva would be proud of their performance had she been here to watch them today.
Jan Byyny and Inmidair slipped and slid their way into third place on a score of 43.2. The footing really deteriorated late in the day, with the long sides of the arena turning into total quagmires. Only Jan would have the balls to straight up go for it in the extended canter down the long side in these conditions; she rode the whole test with that same fierce determination. We also saw a very good test from Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot toward the end of the day; they’re sitting in fourth place overnight on 43.8. Hannah really kept William swinging nicely through his back, which made for a very fluid test.
Boyd and Phillip Dutton both have two horses in the top 10, which is pretty impressive considering the physically and emotionally grueling past 36 hours. Sir Donovan, who Boyd has been riding for Peter Barry, had a very nice test with particularly good changes to sit in seventh place on 45.9. Mighty Nice is tied for fifth place with Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch on a score of 45.0, and Atlas is in eighth on 46.8. Erin Sylvester and No Boundaries and Katy Groesbeck and Oz the Tin Man round out the top 10 on scores of 47.1 and 48.3, respectively. Kudos to all the riders, volunteers and horses for putting on their game faces and getting it done today.
We dodged a bullet with rain this afternoon, as just light sprinkles fell on and off. So far Hugh Lochore’s wait-and-see plan when it comes to the brand new cross-country course is working. Assuming rain doesn’t fall overnight and the sun shines tomorrow as it’s forecasted to, the footing will be well on its way to drying enough for cross-country day on Saturday. Thanks to announcer extraordinaire John Kyle — whose fantastic commentary we’ll be enjoying for cross country and show jumping — I have photos of the CIC3* course ready to upload. Standby for much more from Red Hills!