By the Numbers: Galway Downs CIC3*

As the East Coast enters full swing of the spring season, the California scene is starting to heat up as well, with a healthy division entered at Galway Downs this weekend. With a handful of West Coast-based riders intending to use this as a final prep for Rolex (or Badminton!), we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on Galway.

Ian Stark has been the course designer at this venue for a number of years, even as his popularity is heating up out east. Known for a propensity for ditches, open logs and rider-frighteners, his courses reward forward, bold rides.

Photo courtesy of Galway Downs

The Field

  • In the past two years, about 85% of the field at this show has finished cross country with no jumping penalties. That’s well over the international rate of clear cross country rounds, which is 66% over the same time period.
  • In 2014, 22% (three pairs) in the field finished on their dressage score. In 2015, no one managed to finish on their dressage score.
  • The past two winners were in third or fourth place after dressage. Will this be the year that someone can lead wire-to-wire? Or will the winner come from behind again?

MacKenna Shea and Landioso. Photo by Alleyn Evans for official event photographer Shannon Brinkman Photography, courtesy of Rebecca Farm.

Dressage Divas

  • Chatwin only has four starts at this level but he’s managed to improve his dressage score just a touch with every test. Most recently he and Frankie Theriot-Stutes proved they can strike in the 30s with the FEI equivalent of 38.1 in the Advanced at Twin Rivers earlier this month.
  • Over their lengthy career together, Mackenna Shea and Landioso have proven themselves as strong contenders in the first phase. They’ve scored in the mid-40s for their last 11 starts in a row.
  • Although Charlie Tango’s resume is much shorter than Landioso’s, he and Heather Morris have already proven a similar reliability on the flat, notching off four mid-40s scores in their four three-star starts.
  • Both Glock Pullman and RevitaVet Elijah could pop up into the first few placings after day one, having both scored the FEI equivalent of 42.3 at Twin Rivers in the Advanced. This will be RevitaVet Elijah’s second start at this level with James Alliston, while Glock Pullman and Tamie Smith will be having their second start at this level as a team.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Show Jumping Powerhouses

  • Charlie Tango and Heather Morris have an almost perfect show jumping record since they moved up to Advanced last year, marred only by two time penalties in their last outing at Twin Rivers.
  • Master King II is another horse who has proven he can leave all the colored sticks up. He and Leah Breakey are a perfect three for three of double clear stadium rounds at the Advanced level.
  • In 25 stadium rounds at the Advanced, three-star and four-star levels, Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against have never had more than one rail in a stadium round. Ever.

Amber Levine and Carry On. Photo by Sherry Stewart.

Cross Country Machines

  • Carry On and Amber Levine are machines at this level, having never finished more than 15 seconds over optimum time when putting in a clear cross country round.
  • Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against have never had a stop in the 18 Advanced and CIC3* starts in which they left the start box.
  • Glock Pullman and RevitaVet Elijah both showed they can hit the optimum time at Twin Rivers.

PREDICTED WINNER: Frankie Theriot-Stutes and Chatwin

Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Keep Your Eye On…

  • Amber Levine and Carry On
  • Heather Morris and Charlie Tango
  • Mackenna Shea and Landioso

Potential Spoilers

  • James Alliston and Revitavet Elijah
  • James Alliston and Happenstance
  • Tamie Smith and Glock Pullman