Plantation Field marks the definitive start to the fall season, though you’d barely know it due to the sunny skies and warm temperatures it often sees. With three big CCI4*-S divisions on the east coast in the next three weeks and another two big west coast events, we’re in for a busy time!
Mike Etherington-Smith is now entering his fifth year designing at Plantation Field, firmly stamping his style on the course. The ground is quite firm despite huge efforts from the grounds team, so expect to see quite a few making time this weekend, similar to other years when the ground runs hard. Chris Barnard designs the show jumping, which often shakes up the standings over the signature dark footing.
Dressage starts at 8 a.m. EST today, and you can watch live on USEF Network.
- For the last five runnings of this division, the eventual winner has been in the top three after dressage in four of them.
- Last year, the wet weather and deep mud allowed the order to shift a bit more and the winner (Archie Rocks under Buck Davidson) was only ninth after dressage.
- Only three of 239 starters since 2014 have finished on their dressage score; all three of those pairs finished inside the top four.
- When the weather is good and the ground is firm, at least one pair has made the time, with a whopping 12% of the field making it in both 2016 and 2017. The clear completion rate at this event averages at 73%, which is which is higher than the worldwide average of 67% for the same time period.
- Covert Rights and Colleen Rutledge can run hot or cold and right now they seem to be on a hot streak. Despite a two-year average of 31.3 for the level, they’ve broken 70% in their last two outings and most recently laid down a 27.9 at the Great Meadow CCI4*-S.
- Mara DePuy more consistently hovers in the low thirty range with Congo Brazzaville C but can break the 70% mark about 35% of the time. With a score of 29.6 at the American Eventing Championships, this horse has laid his Rolex stadium demons to rest for now.
- Although Alex Baugh has just one start at this level with the experienced Mr. Candyman, she came out in her debut with a bang, laying down a 27.7 at Millbrook. A similar score will see these two right up with the leaders in Alex’s CCI4*-S debut.
- Danger Mouse averages 32.6 for the level over the past two years, with a bit of a large range. With Caroline Martin, he achieved a personal best mark of 26.0 at Bramham in 2018, but his most recent test at Millbrook was a bit of an outlier in the other direction.
- Fortuna is making her CCI4*-S debut this weekend, but under Bobby Meyerhoff, she’s been very consistent in her two Advanced tests, scoring a 32.7 at Horse Park of New Jersey and 32.5 at Essex.
Show Jumping Powerhouses
- Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse have had six stadium rounds at the A/4*-S levels in 2018 and they’ve jumped clear in all but one of them, just incurring a single rail last fall at Morven 4*-S.
- Mia Farley and BGS Firecracker are turning into a cracking pair in this phase as well; in four rounds at the level, they’ve incurred only one rail, which came in their debut at Millbrook last year.
- Congo Brazzaville C is a notoriously fun to watch due to his air time; this horse could be a pure jumper any day of the week. Mara DePuy has ridden him to a stellar record of 17 clears out of 19 A/4*-S rounds in their career together.
- Meghan O’Donoghue has quietly put together a solid stadium record on Palm Crescent, who has only twice incurred a rail in seven rounds at this level over 2018/2019.
- Kim Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco have made their mark this fall season with two top five placings helped along by blazingly fast cross-country rounds. At Millbrook they posted the second fastest round of the day by only one second and at Great Meadow they clocked in the fastest with only 1.2 time penalties.
- Brooke Massie with Serendipity are another pair new to the level who have used their turn of foot to their advantage; they won the Bromont CCI4*-S by virtue of putting in the only round inside the optimum and also finished inside the time at Millbrook, which was their debut to the level.
- Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise finished as either the fastest pair or inside the optimum in 50% of their six 4*-S/A runs since 2018. They overall average only 7.33 seconds behind the fastest time or optimum time for the 2018/2019 season.
- Covert Rights and Colleen Rutledge have been within ten seconds of either the fastest cross-country time or the optimum time in four of their last five clear outings at this level, over the 2018/2019 seasons.
- Honor Me and Lisa Marie Fergusson have traditionally been very quick across the country, although occasionally this pair eases home at a more sedate pace of 25+ seconds over the fastest time. However in four of their seven A/4*-S runs in 2018/2019, they either beat optimum or were the fastest time of the day, and on another occasion only two seconds off the optimum.
PREDICTED WINNER: Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse
Keep Your Eye On …
- Bobby Meyerhoff and Fortuna
- Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco
- Will Faudree and Michel 233
- Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle