Now in its sixth year of running, Carolina International continues to serve as one of the most highly anticipated events of the U.S. spring season. Many pairs competing this weekend are using Carolina as a key prep run for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and other major spring long formats.
Last year Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border scored 20.8 to set the dressage record for the CCI4*-S; we are unlikely to see any pairs come even close to besting that this year. Sue Baxter (GBR) and Mark Weissbecker (USA) are the CCI4*-S ground jury. Mark is also serving on the Kentucky ground jury this year alongside Martin Plewa (GER) and president Christina Klingspor (SWE), who is leading the CCI3*-S ground jury this weekend.
Marc Donovan returns as the show jumping course designer and always designs a tough track on the turf. Ian Stark is now in his fourth year of designing the Carolina cross country course. Only one pair made the time in the CCI4*-S in 2016 and 2017, and we expect time to once again be influential.
- In the five runnings of the CCI4*-S, Doug Payne and Vandiver are the only pair to come from outside the top 10 after dressage to win. Last year they sat in 12th after the first phase and were the only pair to make the time on cross country to steal the win.
- Of the five pairs to win the CCI4*-S, four finished on their dressage score. Only Allison Springer and Arthur added any penalties to their dressage score and still won — 3.2 cross country time penalties in 2016.
- Only one combination, Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair, has ever had a show jumping rail and still finished inside the top four in the CCI4*-S at this venue.
- Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night have the best dressage average in the field of 27.9. Their final three runs of the 2018 season all had scores lower than that. In their five CCI4*-S runs in 2018, they never finished outside of the top 10, including finishing second in the Carolina CCI4*-S.
- Switzerland’s Felix Vogg has a seriously exciting mare in Cayenne, who is averaging 28.0 in the first phase after two starts at the level. She scored 27.0 at Red Hills in her CCI4*-S debut earlier this month and will challenge Fernhill By Night for the lead after the first day.
- Four other pairs in the field have a 12-month dressage average in the 20s at the level: Buck Davidson and Copper Beach, Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z, and Will Coleman and OBOS O’Reilly.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
- Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore have never had a rail down at the Advanced and CCI4*-S levels.
- Sharon White and Cooley On Show have only had one show jumping rail in the CCI4*-S format since 2016 — at this venue last year when they finished 11th.
- Will Faudree and Pfun are a remarkably consistent show jumping combination, pulling rails only three times in their entire international combination stretching back to 2013.
Cross Country Machines
- Doug Payne and Vandiver were the only pair to make the time in the CCI4*-S at Carolina last year, which boosted them up from fifth to take the win. They average 4.0 cross country time penalties at this level.
- Canada’s Lisa Marie Fergusson and her 2018 World Equestrian Games mount Honor Me are an extremely speedy combination, averaging just 2.0 time penalties.
- Will Coleman and Off the Record won the Great Meadow CCIO4*-S last year thanks to being one of the only pairs to catch the time. OBOS O’Reilly is also likely to shoot right up the leaderboard after cross country with an average of 2.4 time penalties.
- Quality Time is an extremely exciting mare for Ireland’s Tim Bourke and makes her CCI4*-S debut at Carolina. She has never had a cross country time penalty in her international career, and she added just 0.4 penalties in her Advanced debut at Pine Top last month.
- Caroline Martin and The Apprentice were the only pair to make the time in 2017, which gave her the first CCI4*-S win of her career. She also has another speed demon in Danger Mouse, who added just 2.8 time penalties at Red Hills earlier this month to finish third.
PREDICTED WINNER: Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night
Keep Your Eye On:
- Will Coleman and Off the Record
- Doug Payne and Vandiver
- Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z
- Buck Davidson and Copper Beach
- Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver
- Tim Bourke and Quality Time
- Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse