A date change for Chattahoochee Hills last year helped this event become a viable alternative to The Fork as a final preparation run for horses and riders bound for Kentucky, especially for those based in the south. Despite competing with the WEG test event, Chattahoochee Hills has drawn a very healthy field, particularly attractive to those who are less experienced at the level.
Keep in mind that the FEI dressage scoring has dropped the 1.5 coefficient and is now equivalent to dressage scores at USEF horse trials.
- The winner of the Chatt Hills CIC3* has led from start to finish every year except the inaugural running in 2013, when Veronica and Lauren Kieffer took the win in their CIC3* debut together.
- Three different nationalities have won this event in the last three runnings: Great Britain (Leslie Law), Canada (Jessica Phoenix), and the United States (Buck Davidson). Buck Davidson will be attempting to become the first repeat winner of this division; he was 1-2 last year with Copper Beach and Carlevo.
Percent of pairs expected to score in the 20s: 8.3% (two of 24)
- If we are going to look for a winner beginning in the very first phase, Buck Davidson and Carlevo are the pair to start with. This pair has scored in the 20s in 75% of their 12 starts in 2017 and 2018. Although they haven’t hit the coveted 75% mark yet, they’ve gotten close, laying down a personal best of 38.7 (25.8 in today’s scoring) at the Ocala Jockey Club CIC3* in 2016.
- This will be the first CIC3* for FE Bowman since the fall of 2016, but judging by his two-star test at Carolina two weeks ago, he hasn’t missed a beat. He last scored a 40.2 (26.8 in today’s scoring) at the Ocala Jockey Club in 2016, and returned to lead the massive Carolina CIC2* division with Clayton Frederick through the first phase.
- William Ward and Grando created quite a buzz when they broke into the top 10 of the CIC3* at Carolina after day one. This was only the horse’s second CIC3*, and he improved more than four points from his first Advanced start at Rocking Horse.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
Percent of pairs expected to go clear in show jumping: 16.6% (four of 24)
- Cisko A is another horse who is returning to the level after a hiatus, having last competed at this level at the American Eventing Championships in 2016. He and rider Sydney Conley-Elliot have proved quite strong in the stadium phase, never having more than a rail in their career and jumping clear 57% of the time at the Advanced/CIC3* levels.
- Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino have clinched a few top placings using this gray’s careful jumping style. Setting aside a difficult round in their first go at the level after an extended vacation, this pair have jumped clear in six of their nine rounds at this level, and twice only incurred a single rail.
Cross Country Machines
Percent of pairs expected to come within 10 seconds of optimum time: 8.3% (2 of 24)
- A pair not only strong in stadium, but also swift across the country, Sydney Conley-Elliot and Cisko A are a strong bet for a fast, clear round. In six runs at this level, they have never finished more than 20 seconds over optimum time, and 50% of the time they are within 10 seconds.
- Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino haven’t been the most consistent in this phase, but it’s now undeniable that when putting in a clear round, it’s also a very fast round. This pair has finished within 10 seconds of optimum time every clear round they’ve had.
PREDICTED WINNER: Buck Davidson and Carlevo
Keep Your Eye On
- Sydney Conley-Elliot and Cisko A and QC Diamantaire
- Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration
- Clayton Fredericks and FE Bowman
- Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino