Chin Tonic HS Untouchable in $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field

Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS. Photo by Sally Spickard.

It’s been five years since Will Coleman graced the entry list here at Bruce’s Field, but he’s returned with a bang: headlining the leaderboard of the 2024 $100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field with EquiRatings’ favorite to win Chin Tonic HS. 

With such a banner year ahead — the elephant in the room being the 2024 Paris Olympic Games — Will opted to move “Chin” outside his comfort zone. “He’s never been here before, so that was part of the idea. We’re trying to just continue to season him for some some bigger things in his career. He’s kind of entering his prime, I would say,” he said of Hyperion Stud’s 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ – Wildera, by Quinar). “Our plan is to not do a five-star this year, so we decided that this event could serve as well. And we’re going to use the atmosphere and sort of the five-star feel that it gives you here, which I think very beneficial [for both my horses.]”

Will is likely not alone in this goal, and tomorrow’s cross country test, which packs 29 efforts in a 4 minute 18 second time, may emulate more of the twisty, punchy course we may expect at the upcoming Olympics.

“I don’t know if [this kind of track] really suits any horse that well, but that’s part of why you do it. I think you can get better from from doing stuff like this,” Will explained. “And for Chin, he’s a really good horse, and he’s gotten way better in his cross country at reading the questions, but this will be a good early season test where the rideability is and where his brain is.”

Will Coleman and Off The Record. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Both of Will’s entries, Chin and Off The Record, who jumped five spaces from 10th to 5th, were among the sixteen to jump a double clear effort, contributing to the 43% clear jumping rate.

Phillip Dutton and Possante. Photo by Shelby Allen.

U.S. Team stalwart Phillip Dutton moved himself into the reserve position with Possante, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Namelus R – Wendelien, by Otangelo) who was previously campaigned by Emily King. Their partnership began in earnest only recently in the fall of 2023.

“We’re still getting to know each other, and we’re very excited. Obviously he’s a talented horse, but you never quite know what they’re going to do when you have atmosphere and conditions like we had today. He stepped up, but we really haven’t been to battle yet on cross country with anything too difficult, so we’ll see how we do tomorrow,” Phillip said.

Owned by The Possante Group, “Impy” remains on his dressage score of 30.6 after a faultless jumping effort despite a less than ideal warmup.

Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“We jumped better than I thought he was going to because in the warm up he’s very spooky,” Phillip described. “He’s a bit horse shy, and there’s a lot of people there, so the warm up was more difficult than getting in the ring. There’s a lot lot to look at [too, in the arena] with the cross country jumps and it’s quite a unique arena to jumping in. I was really pleased with him.”

Phillip’s second ride, Caroline Moran’s Quasi Cool, moved down the leaderboard from third to eighth after having one rail down and two seconds against the clock.

Boyd Martin and Fedarman B. Photo by Shelby Allen.

2022 Champions Boyd Martin and the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B hold third place overnight. “Bruno” is one of the strongest show jumpers in the field — he and Boyd have only had one rail down in their International career together — and he looked very much at home around Michel Villancourt’s track.

“He’s a champion. He’s probably the best show jumper I’ve ever had, so there’s never an excuse to have a rail down. He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s razor sharp, He’s confident. He’s careful. And he’s one of the only horses I just have immense confidence in, going into the show jumping.  sometimes I’ve got to make make myself cautious enough, because he’s so so good at jumping, that I don’t get too blasé,” Boyd said of the 14-year-old KWPN gelding (Clooney – Paulien B, by Fedor).

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Second after dressage, Tsetserleg TSF tumbled down to sixth after a miscommunication at fence three saw the rail fall. He carries a current score of 33. Boyd’s final ride Commando 3 sits 14th after a double clear show jumping result.

Liz Halliday and Cooley Nutcracker. Photo by Shelby Allen.

With more wins here than any other rider, Liz Halliday is currently most competitive with Cooley Nutcracker, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tolant R – Ballyshan Cleopatra, by Cobra) owned by his namesake syndicate. She and “Bali” are fourth after a clear round on a score of 31.6, which is just over five points behind our leaders.

Her two other rides, Cooley Quicksilver and Miks Master C each saw one pole come down and sit 12th and 16th, respectively.

Monica Spencer and Artist. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Seventh place belongs to kiwi eventer Monica Spencer and her ex-racehorse Artist. You may recognize the name from the Maryland CCI5*-L last fall where they finished seventh. After that top ten display, Monica returned home to the southern hemisphere before relocating once again to the United States only a month ago. This being their first run of the 2024 season, she and “Max,” hold their dressage score of 33.2 going into Saturday’s cross country finale.

Colleen Loach and Vermont. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Flying the flag for Canada, Colleen Loach moved herself into the top ten with Peter Barry’s Vermont, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Van Helsing – Hauptstutbuch Hollywood, by Heraldik xx). They hold a score of 34.6 after a double clear show jumping effort.

Doug Payne and Camarillo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

The best of Doug Payne’s three entries is Camarillo, a 10-year-old Zweibrucker gelding (Chicardo – Rehobeth, by Riverman) owned by Doug and Patrice Jennings-Rado. The quick-footed grey remains on his dressage score of 35.3 for 10th place overnight.

Cross country begins at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday with Doug set as our first rider aboard Quantum Leap. If you aren’t some of the lucky ones joining us in Aiken tomorrow, watch all the action on Horse & Country. Click here to view your options and access the live stream.

$100,000 Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Showcase at Bruce’s Field (Aiken, SC) [Website] [Entries] [Ride Times] [Ride For Charity Teams] [Ride For Charity Online Vote] [Volunteer] [Live Stream] [EN’s Coverage] [Ultimate Guide]

We’re pleased to introduce Deirdre Stoker Vaillancourt, with her robust expertise and portfolio of property options in the Aiken area, as the sponsor of our coverage of the Conceal Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field. Seasonal or year-round, southern charm and the sporting lifestyle await you in Aiken!

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