We’re coming into the final stretch, with the the last CIC3* and Advanced of the season for both coasts running the weekend. After this, it’s the two CCI3*, then we enter the winter break.
Woodside is holding their event a full month ahead of the Galway CCI3*, and I think it’s likely that we’ll be seeing many of these pairs going to Temecula next. A few here haven’t qualified, so they’ll probably be looking for good final runs of the season before hanging up their tack for the year.
In dressage, the Advanced is performing 2014 USEF A-B while the CIC3* runs 2009 FEI 3*-B. The cross country course designer is Derek di Grazia and the show jumping course designer is Sarah Dubost.
TOP FIVE: CIC3*
1. Kaitlin Veltkamp and Flashpoint D: Kaitlin and Flashpoint D are one of the greenest pairs in the field, but they’ve certainly made waves since debuting at Advanced at Twin Rivers last February. Since then, they’ve not finished lower than third and were recently first at their first CIC3* at Copper Meadows.
This pair hasn’t yet performed this test, but they score a respectable 57.8 on average. They’ll be only middle of the pack after this phase. They do average a double clear show jumping, although the only rail Flashpoint D has had so far at this level was during one of his two rounds over a Sarah Dubost course. Woodside in May was the only other time these two have seen a Derek di Grazia course, and they rocked around bang on optimum time for a double clear.
If they replicate that effort, Kaitlin and Flashpoint D could edge into first place with a score in the high 50s.
2. James Alliston and Tivoli: James and Tivoli are possibly the toughest to predict this weekend, despite their experience. This is their first time back at this level since Rolex 2013, where Tivoli sadly failed the final horse inspection. After time off, he’s back, and James’ decision on how fast to run will ultimately decide the weekend.
James and Tivoli didn’t perform this dressage test in 2013, but instead averaged a 49.5 on the flat. This will be good enough for top two on the flat. They average one rail and two time penalties over Sarah Dubost courses, which may not drop them down, but will put Kaitlin in striking range.
If James runs double clear cross country, as he did over two Advanced/CIC3* courses prior to Rolex, he could still sneak away with the win. If he gathers 7.6 time penalties, as he did over Derek di Grazia’s CCI4* course, he’ll slide down to second with a score in the low 60s.
3. Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against: Bunnie and Rise Against are coming off a win in the Twin Rivers Advanced two weekends ago and should carry that momentum over for a good result here.
Rise Against is not terribly patient in the sandbox and averages a 67.7 for this test, which will land them near the bottom after the first phase. However, this pair hasn’t had a rail over one of Sarah’s courses in the past two years, so a double clear will help them climb the ranks. With an average of only 4.8 time penalties for Derek di Grazia’s courses, they’ll end up comfortably in third with a score in the low 70s.
4. Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato: Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato are coming off a second place finish at Aspen Farms and overall have had a pretty successful first year at Advanced. They’ll probably be headed to Galway next so should be looking for a solid round here.
A score of 54.9 would put them in the middle of the pack after dressage. An average of three rails over Sarah Dubost courses will push them down the rankings a bit. With an average of 11.2 time penalties over Derek di Grazia courses, they ought to cruise home with a score in the high 70s for fourth place.
5. Maddy Mazzola and Mojito: Maddy and Mojito moved up to Advanced last fall, and while they haven’t done much, they’ve been very consistent at what they have done. Mojito is a former Rolex horse, and if all goes well this weekend, Maddy will qualify herself to go with him to Rolex in 2015.
Maddy and Mojito have only performed this test together once, scoring a 65.6 after trekking all the way to Jersey Fresh for the CCI3* last spring. They haven’t had a stop yet on cross country and completed with 4.0 time penalties on their only Derek di Grazia course. The show jumping is this horse’s weakness, averaging four rails over Sarah Dubost courses. They ought to end up in fifth on a score in the mid-80s.
THE DARK HORSE
Angela Grzywinski and Novelle: Once again, Novelle is my West Coast Dark Horse pick for the weekend, this time with her owner Angela back in the irons.
Novelle is a mare that tries hard on the flat, but still ends up down the order after the flat. However, she is one of only two who have the potential to go double clear this weekend, and if she does, she’ll crack the top three.
As I said two weeks ago, the mare’s cross country prowess is on the upswing, with clear rounds at Copper Meadows and Twin Rivers. This weekend is the first time she’ll see a Derek di Grazia course, which should be a good prep for her prior to Galway in November.
This pair’s record also shows a sharp division in cross country time penalties; if they have an issue, they slow down. But clear rounds are also equivalent to fast rounds for them, which would put the pair in the hunt.
Finally, Novelle has some hops in the stadium phase. She ought to jump double clear over anything that is put in front of her.
Bea di Grazia and Lad’s Night Out: Bea and Lad’s Night Out were cleaning up at Intermediate when they began dabbling with mixed results at Advanced at the end of 2012. They attempted their first CIC3* in March of 2013, which is when my database begins, and had a bit of a rough weekend. Lad’s Night Out had quite a bit of time off after that and only returned to competition over the summer, winning a Prelim and Intermediate at Woodside. They’ll try to continue their success with Woodside events this weekend.
This pair can really shine on the flat, often scoring in the mid to high 40s. This pair has run twice clear across the country and twice had stops. Their one double clear round was at Woodside, a venue at which they really seem to shine. In addition, Lad’s Night Out either show jumps clear or has a few rails, with not much in between. So far, the clear show jumping rounds have coincided with the clear cross country to give them a good result.
In short, Bea and Lad’s Night Out were an all or nothing sort of pair, and when they’re on, they’re on for all three phases for the win. A long hiatus may change their consistency, and if it has changed for the better, the EN team will be watching.
Rebecca Buehler and Brighton: Rebecca and Brighton are quite green, with a rider fall at Rebecca Farms during their debut followed by a win at Aspen Farms last month. If they replicate their Aspen effort, they will easily win this division.
Rebecca and Brighton performed this test at Aspen, scoring a 34.7 after dressage. They haven’t run either a di Grazia cross country course or a Dubost show jumping course yet. At Aspen, they were clear cross country with only 4.8 time penalties, and a double clear show jumping handed them the win there.
A similar run here will land them in first with a score just barely under 40.