By the Numbers: Galway Downs CIC3*

James Alliston and Tivoli. Photo by Jenni Autry. James Alliston and Tivoli. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Galway Downs is lucky enough to host both the final three-star in the fall on the West Coast, as well as the first three-star in the spring. The event this weekend will be full of Rolex hopefuls, with several entrants already showing up on the Rolex entry list. Although a few of the West Coast Rolex entrants have already trekked east to take a shot at The Fork, there are still at least nine riders here that are headed to Kentucky.

The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-A, and it will be the first time this test has been ridden out west. The cross country course designer is Ian Stark and the show jumping course designer is Sarah Dubost.


1. James Alliston and Tivoli: James and his longtime partner Tivoli will be taking another crack at Rolex, but first are having another go at Galway Downs, where they have never placed worse than second at the three-star level. I don’t seem them breaking that streak this weekend.

Tivoli averages a 49.7 on the flat, which will be good enough for the top three. Tivoli typically show jumps clear over Sarah Dubost’s courses, but does average one time penalty. James made the time across Ian’s cross country course the last time he brought Tivoli to Galway, and if he holds the pattern here, he’ll walk home with the blue with a score just over 50.

Matt Brown and Happenstance at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Matt Brown and Happenstance at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry.

2. Matt Brown and Happenstance: Matt Brown has a good shot for a one-two punch with his pair, but it’s his younger horse, Happenstance, that I think will finish better. This is Happenstance’s first CIC3* after winning his move-up to Advanced at Twin Rivers a month ago, and he has the potential to go two for two.

Happenstance scored the USEF equivalent of a 47.0 at Twin Rivers, which will put him in the lead if he replicates it. He did have a rail there, which would drop him down to second after the show jumping phase. If he makes time, as he did at Twin Rivers, he’ll put the pressure on Tivoli, with a score less than half a point behind.

3. Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF: Super Socks BCF was on a winning streak out west last year, and other than the CCI3* at Fair Hill, he hasn’t finished worse than fourth since his second Advanced start. That pattern should hold strong this weekend.

Super Socks BCF averages a 51.9 in the dressage phase, which will be good enough for top five. Typically, he does have one rail over Sarah Dubost’s courses, but will maintain or improve his placing on that. An average of 7.2 time penalties across Ian Stark’s cross country will bump him up to third, with a score in the low 60s.

Barb Crabo and Eveready. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

Barb Crabo and Eveready. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

4. Jolie Wentworth and GoodKnight: Jolie and GoodKnight are one of the more experienced pairs of the division, and are headed to Rolex next month. This is likely to be their final prep run before then, unless they send an entry in for Twin Rivers.

An average dressage score of 54.6 for this pair will have them in the top half after the first phase. GoodKnight does average one rail and one time penalty over Sarah Dubost’s courses, but a quick average of only 4.8 time penalties over Ian’s tracks will help them move up. They should finish in fourth with a score in the mid-60s.

5. Barb Crabo and Eveready: Barb and Eveready haven’t attempted Rolex since 2012, and 2009 before that, but after winning the CCI3* at Galway Downs last fall, they are ready to have another crack at it. Like Jolie and GoodKnight, this is their final entry on the West Coast, unless they chose to have a go at Twin Rivers in April.

Barb and Eveready have an overall average of 54.2 on the flat, but have trended closer to the 50 range lately. Eveready is quite careful, and usually has clear rounds in the show jumping, but tends towards three time penalties over Sarah’s courses. Ian Stark’s courses slow them down slightly from their typical pace, and they average 9.2 time penalties. A score just over mid-60s will set them up well for their four-star attempt next month.

Jen McFall and High Times. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jen McFall and High Times. Photo by Jenni Autry.


Jen McFall and High Times: Jen and High Times are yet another pair headed for Rolex. These two have been quietly but steadily improving in all three phases. In their two Advanced showings this year, they have scored eight and 10 points below their overall average.

Their average cross country time penalty score is in the double digits, but both runs in 2015 are only three seconds over optimum time. And recently, at Twin Rivers, they put in their first double clear in show jumping at this level. If Jen and High Times continue to put all three phases together, as they have done for the 2015 season thus far, they’ll be formidable not just here, but in Kentucky.