By the Numbers: Plantation Field CIC3*

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Rare Air Photography. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Rare Air Photography.

The CIC3* at Plantation Field is a huge draw and, as it currently stands, looks to be the biggest CIC3* division held in the U.S. this year. With 67 horses currently entered, Plantation Field has begun to rival the size of the British CIC3* fields, an incredible feat for an American event.

Riders have come from as far away as California for this show, bypassing the chance to win considerable prize money with little competition at the American Eventing Championships, aiming instead to compete for the prestige of topping a large, competitive field. Oh, and there’s also prize money here.

With the entry list reading as a veritable who’s who of U.S. eventing, it’s hard to pick just 10 horses. For all that I’ve narrowed it down to 10, there’s another 10 or 15 who legitimately have a shot at a ribbon at the end of the weekend. It’s an exciting time with this much talent coming up the ranks.

The dressage test will be 2015 FEI 3*-B, which will be used at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International later this fall as well. The cross country course designer is Mike Etherington-Smith, who will be designing for the second year here and most recently created the Great Meadow course. The show jumping course designer is Marc Donovan, who continues to build up his frequent flyer miles after doing Five Points, Richland and Millbrook recently.

TOP TEN

1. Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda: The rivalry continues between Cambalda and Ballynoe Castle RM at Plantation Field, with a toss-up as to who is better on which day. Cambalda gets the edge this time, based on previous experience with this dressage test and course designer.

Jennie has done this test twice with this horse, averaging a 43.9, which would put this pair in the top five after dressage. A habit of jumping double clear over Marc Donovan courses will move this pair up after the second phase. This pair finished 2 seconds under optimum on Mike’s cross country here last year, but finished 19 seconds over the time at Great Meadow, averaging 3.6 time penalties. They should clinch the win on a score in the mid-to-high 40s.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. Photo by Jenni Autry.

2. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border: Cooley Cross Border is doing his first CIC3* this weekend. If his two Advanced wins at Richland and Five Points in the last month are any indication, he will be pressing Cambalda for top honors here as well.

While Cooley Cross Border hasn’t performed this test, he has averaged the equivalent of a 44.7 in his past three outings. This horse has yet to have a rail at this level, including over Marc Donovan’s Richland course. An average of 4.4 time penalties over his first Mike Etherington-Smith CIC3* course will help this pair clinch second place, with a score just under 50.

3. Buck Davidson and Copper Beach: Copper Beach has a trip to the Boekelo CCIO3* looming on the horizon, and with that in mind, Buck will probably start to tighten this horse’s screws this weekend. This horse excelled at this venue last year, finishing second in the field of 52.

Copper Beach averages a score of 49.6 on this particular test, putting him in early stalking range. A careful jumper, Copper Beach has only had one rail all year at this level and averages a double clear round over Marc’s courses. Buck brought this horse home inside the time here last year over Mark Etherington-Smith’s cross country. If they can replicate that performance, they should finish third with a score only half a point behind Cooley Cross Border.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

4. Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM: Reggie has been battling it out all year with Cambalda, but this may not be their weekend for first. Buck took his partner around the cross country slow here last year after a tough World Equestrian Games. A quicker round this year would shift these two up the ranks to battle it out at the top.

Reggie is quite consistent on the flat, and his average of 44.8 on this test is very close to his overall average. This horse has jumped over five Marc Donovan courses this year, accumulating a grand total of one rail, so look for him to jump double clear on Saturday. If this pair matches their 7.2 time penalties from last year’s Plantation, look for them in fourth with a score just over 50.

5. Caroline Martin and Center Stage: Center Stage looks to be a rising star for Caroline, a horse who can potentially finish with solid scores in all three phases. This pair recently finished fifth in a big CIC3* division at Richland in what was only the horse’s second run at this level.

Center Stage scored a 43.4 on this test at Richland, which could potentially put them in the top five after the first phase. This pair has pulled one rail in two Marc Donovan rounds, leaving the potential for them to have one down this weekend. While he hasn’t yet tackled a Mike Etherington-Smith course, Center Stage has averaged 5.2 time penalties across the country thus far. A score in the low 50s would put Caroline just behind her coach in fifth place.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. Photo by Sally Spickard.

6. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum: Tamie is bringing the very talented Mai Baum back to the East Coast for Plantation Field before heading on to Fair Hill. This horse has won every West Coast division he’s entered at this level and should do quite well this weekend back on the East Coast.

Mai Baum is quite proficient on the flat, averaging a 40.5 for this particular test. Look for this pair to possibly lead the division after the first phase. These two have yet to jump a Marc Donovan course, but overall average one rail in the show jumping phase. Tamie and Mai Baum accumulated 8.4 time penalties in their only run over a Mike E-S course at Great Meadow, and if they match that, they will finish just outside the top five with a score less than half a point behind Center Stage.

7. Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman: Mr. Candyman now has two runs under his belt at this level and thus far appears to be a very exciting prospect. This horse recently finished second in a strong Five Points Advanced division and will be stepping up to his first CIC3* here.

This horse hasn’t done a three-star test yet, but averages a 45.8 in his first two goes at the Advanced level. He has yet to have a rail in show jumping, so look for a double clear round from him on Saturday. An average of 8 time penalties across the country would put this place solidly in seventh, with a score just over a point behind Mai Baum.

Mikki Kutchka and Ruben's D'Ysieux. Photo courtesy of Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Mikki Kutchka and Ruben’s D’Ysieux. Photo courtesy of Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

8. Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D’Ysieux: Mikki’s grey horse is another who has recently stepped up to the level and is now making an impact. Plantation Field will be the horse’s fourth start, and their numbers thus far point to consistency in all three phases.

Rubens D’Ysieux scored a 43.1 on this test at Richland, which would be good enough for the top three here. This is another horse who hasn’t yet had a rail at this level, and he jumped double clear over Marc Donovan’s courses at Millbrook and Richland. A bit slow across the country still, they average 13.6 time penalties, which will drop them down a bit. A final score in the mid-50s will put this pair in eighth place.

9. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn: Fernhill Cubalawn is back from his trip overseas to the Aachen CICO3*, where he finished 11th in very strong company and helped the U.S. Nations Cup team to a third-place finish. This horse has been very consistent all year and should continue to produce solid results for Phillip.

Fernhill Cubalawn averages a 50.1 on this particular test, which is a couple points above their overall average. Cubalawn has only had one rail all year, but that rail came over Marc Donovan’s Carolina International three-star course, so this horse could potentially have a rail here as well. A swift average of only 2.8 time penalties across the country would help keep this pair in the top 10 with a score only a tenth of a point behind Rubens D’Ysieux.

Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High. Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

10. Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High: Selena has really turned a corner with this horse on the flat, with scores more than 10 points below their previous average in both of their competitions since Rolex. This pair could be potentially higher up the ranks depending on if their flat score continues to fall.

Foxwood High averages a 48.1 on this test, but recently scored a 43.3 at Richland. This pair does average one rail over Marc Donovan courses but makes up for it with a very swift average of only 4.8 time penalties across the country. Look for Selena to round out the top 10 with a score in the mid-to-high 50s.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo by Jenni Autry.

THE SPOILER

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous: This mare obviously has huge potential, and has the hardware to prove it as the reigning Pan Ams individual gold medalist. An unfortunate stumble in stadium popped Marilyn out of the tack last weekend at the mare’s first CIC3* before they could even set foot on the cross country course, but it’s unlikely that will happen again. With the ability to score in the 30s each time out, jump a clear stadium round and go quick across the country, RF Scandalous could easily take the win at the end of the weekend.

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery. Photo by Jenni Autry.

THE SLEEPER

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery: Boyd Martin and his new ride are just running their second show at this level together, but they certainly had an impressive first go at Five Points. This horse won the dressage at Plantation last year with Kelly Prather in the irons, and Boyd just equaled their score from last year at Five Points.

This horse is almost always a one- or two-rail horse, so Boyd will have his work cut out for him to jump double clear come Saturday, but a double clear run on Sunday isn’t out of the realm of possibility. These two will likely crack the top 10 at the end of the weekend, and it shouldn’t be long before they are right at the top of the leaderboard.

Comments