After all of the WEG hoopla, you’d think things would slow down, but instead, we are ramping up into the fall season! Burghley runs this weekend, Blenheim the next, and the US gets things rolling for fall with four divisions of Advanced or CIC3* this weekend! We’ve already talked about the west coast, today we move onto the east coast division, an Advanced running at Five Points Horse Trials, based at the Carolina Horse Park.
Five Points is filling out quite nicely entry-wise, with 24 pairs entered as I write this. We’ve got green riders, green horses, horses heading south for the AECs, horses ramping up to aim at Fair Hill. With the AECs now in Texas, horses are now coming here to fill their early September schedule.
For the Advanced division, the dressage test will be 2014 USEF A-B. The cross country course designer is Hugh Luchore and the show jumping course designer is Marc Donovan. Hugh Luchore is also the course designer for Red Hills, so there are slower XC time penalty averages below, since Red Hills is famous for their twisty terrain. Expect to see quicker rides this weekend, as Luchore gets the chance to work with a different piece of land.
1. Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch: Laine and Anthony Patch are no stranger to fall season success, having won Millbrook in 2013, followed by placing second at Richland, and topping it off with a win in the AECs. This year, they are well on their way to a repeat, with a win already at Millbrook.
Laine and Anthony Patch favor this dressage test with an average of 29.2, which is a full point lower than their typical dressage average. While the pair usually averages a mere 6.8 time penalties on cross country at this level, they tend to be a bit slower on Hugh Luchore courses, coming home with 12 time and no jump penalties. Lastly, they are one of only two pairs in the field that average double clear show jumping rounds, which carries over to their experience with Marc Donovan courses. I think they’ll be walking home with close to a rail’s worth of breathing room over the second place rider, somewhere in the range of 41.2 penalties.
2. Sharon White and Under Suspection: A few weeks ago, I tapped Sharon and Under Suspection to play the bridesmaid at Richland Park, which they did, and I’m going to do it again here today. Sharon will be headed to Boekelo CCI3* later this fall with this mare, and she’s certainly making a good case for a solid placing.
The pair averages a 36.0 on this dressage test, which is a bit higher than the mare’s normal average. They’ll be out of the top five, but still easily in the top ten after the flat. Sharon and Under Suspection are also a little slower than their average on Hugh Luchore courses, but still only tend towards only 10.0 time penalties while jumping clear. Finally, these two perform better than their average on Marc Donovan courses and are one of only a few pairs who will end with a clean round. Look for them to walk home second near 46.0 total penalties.
3. Sally Cousins and Ideal Contini: Sally bought Ideal Contini from Will Coleman’s barn a few years ago and have been flying slightly under the radar ever since. Ideal Contini is probably the best on the flat of all Sally’s rides and is a good jumper to boot.
Like most others, Sally and Ideal Contini have an affinity for this dressage test, laying down around a 31.3 after the flat. They are just a touch slower on Hugh Luchore courses, but jump clear with only 10.8 time penalties. Ideal Contini is extremely consistent in the jumping, with one rail and one time averaged on most show jumping courses, which holds for Marc Donovan’s tracks. They’ll press Under Suspection a bit by finishing around 47.1.
4. Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek: Lizzie Snow is a former Young Rider who has been knocking on the door for a while with this former ride of the late, great Amy Tryon. They are likely to lay down a 34.0 on this dressage test, putting them in a large cluster near the top, just outside of the top four. Lizzie and Coal Creek are one of the few pairs who average a faster time on Hugh Luchore courses than their normal time penalty average, so I expect a clean, quick run from them with 8.4 time penalties. Coal Creek is another horse who averages a rail and one time penalty over Marc Donovan courses, so near a 47.4, they’ll be clipping Sally’s heels.
5. Will Coleman and Obos O’Reilly: Obos O’Reilly has proven himself capable at this level, winning the Bromont CCI3* in 2013. However, he has only run once at Advanced in 2014, early in the season at Pine Top in February. Will is likely going to give Obos O’Reilly a good ride to stretch his legs as he steps up again.
Obos O’Reilly is not quite as proficient at this dressage test, averaging a 40.0 when he normally scores a few points lower. He has not yet attempted a Hugh Luchore course, but is fairly proficient at cross country in general, usually clear with 11.2 time penalties. Finally, this is pair is the other pair who averages a double clear show jumping round, although they haven’t tried a Marc Donovan course yet. Will and Obos O’Reilly should see a pink ribbon after they finish close to 51.2 penalties.
THE DARK HORSE
Will Faudree and Pawlow: I can’t quite believe I’m saying that Pawlow is the ‘Dark Horse’, after all of his experience. Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet found his stride since Rolex 2013. Will withdrew Pawlow from the Carolina CIC3* earlier this year, then picked up a stop at The Fork CIC3* before retiring after yet another stop at Rolex. If Ernie’s got his groove back, they could steal the whole show by a whisker from Laine. If not, look for him outside of the ribbons.
Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie: I’d first like to admit that when I was a kid just learning to ride, a pony named Steady Eddy (with a -y) was my absolute favorite, no matter how many times the cheeky bastard dumped me on my head. So when Boyd imported this TB from Australia as a youngster and announced his name, it immediately drew my eye and I’ve been watching ever since. Maybe it’s a touch of unintentional favoritism here, but of Boyd’s four greener Advanced rides he has here, I think this one has the most potential.
Steady Eddie’s dressage has been steadily dropping with only one relapse in the six months since Boyd moved him up to Advanced. This horse has gone from scoring a 46.5 at Pine Top in February to a 28.1 at Millbrook in early August. Obviously he is capable of the scores on the flat, and Boyd is definitely a rider who knows how to coax the best out of a horse.
Similarly, his times across the country have dropped steadily through the year from being more than a minute over time to being barely thirty seconds over. This horse is a Thoroughbred and Boyd is known for his ability to ride quickly. I fully expect to seem them making the time when they want to next year. They’ve had only one blip on cross country, when Eddie unfortunately broke Boyd’s leg. Oops.
Finally, this horse is careful in the show jumping, having jumped three clear rounds and one with only one rail this year. This horse could be a potential team horse for 2016 if he keeps improving as he has in the past six months. And we all know that Boyd likes to have a spare.