Dressage Powerhouses of Kentucky: Day Two

Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Welcome back to the 2019 edition of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event! Yesterday we watched as half of the horses put on their dancing shoes and today the second half of the field will get their chance. Quite a few of the heavy hitters ended up in the Friday sessions, so this preview will be a bit longer than yesterday’s. Click here to see the order of go with ride times and here for all the details on how to watch live.

In case you missed the action yesterday, here’s a quick recap. The competitors will be performing the 2017 FEI 5* Test A. In case you only tune in for North America’s biggest event, don’t forget that we have transitioned to a new scoring system for dressage. Starting last year, we no longer utilize the 1.5 multiplier on the penalty marks for dressage, making the scoring a straight conversion to penalties. An average of 70.0% from the ground jury will translate into 30.0 penalty points, instead of 45.0 as it would have prior to 2018. This clusters the competitors closer together after the first phase, making the jumping phases more influential.

Judging the competitors will be Christina Klingspor of Sweden, who presides over the ground jury. Martin Plewa of Germany and Mark Weissbecker of the United States join her as members of the ground jury.

THE FIELD

The chart below visually shows the range of each pair (in draw order). The pale orange demonstrates the range that each pair scores in 67% of the time while the black mark shows their average over the last twelve months. A narrow orange bar denotes a pair of very high consistency in the dressage phase; Quarrycrest Echo is one of of the most predictable horses in the field, for example. A wide orange bar shows a pair who have varied greatly in their scores and thus make it much more difficult to predict with any certainty.

The pairs who went yesterday have their actual score marked as a black dot with their score labeled, so you can see how they did compared to their typical scoring range.


FRIDAY

Piggy French (GBR) and Quarrycrest Echo: Quarrycrest Echo and Piggy French come into the arena holding the best dressage average at A/4/5* of the entire field over the last twelve months. They also tie for the best 5* average (from multiple 5* tests) in the field and have proven to be one of the most consistent pairs. There is a 95% likelihood they will score between 25.48 and 31.67.

Aiming for: Top of the Leaderboard

Ride time: 10:08 a.m.

Tim Price (NZL) and Xavier Faer: Tim Price will have a crack at the Grand Slam next week if he wins with Xavier Faer here, and so he’s brought a horse who is no slouch on the flat. Although Xavier Faer’s best test at 5* is only a 31.0, he’s averaged 29.43 in his tests over the last 12 months and he laid down a personal best of 26.3 at Weston Park Advanced earlier this month.

Aiming for: Top Five

Ride time: 1:16 p.m.


Oliver Townend (GBR) and Cooley Master Class: Oliver Townend has brought back last year’s winner Cooley Master Class for a chance of a back-to-back win. This horse’s score of 28.7 last year doesn’t quite crack the top five of 5* personal bests in the field but he does own the best 4* personal best in the field, a 22.4 at the 2014 Ballindenisk 4*-S. Still, a score more in line with his A/4* average of 28.3 is most likely.

Aiming for: Top of the Leaderboard

Ride time: 1:32 p.m.

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z: Next up is perennial favorite Phillip Dutton, who brings Z to his second Kentucky as a more seasoned competitor. This horse owns the second best 5* score in the field, a 27.6 laid down at WEG last fall and his twelve month average of 29.68 is almost a full four points lower than his overall A/4* average, demonstrating how far this horse has come in this phase.

Aiming for: Top Five

Ride time: 1:40 p.m.

Doug Payne (USA) and Vandiver: Doug Payne has clearly been doing some homework with Vandiver; in their last four tests they’ve broken 70% three times whereas prior to that they had only broken that mark twice in twenty tests at the A/4/5* level. They are likely to score a new 5* personal best and will only be aided by being in the last session today.

Aiming for: Top Five

Ride time: 2:36 p.m.

Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg: Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg own the best 5* score in the field, having achieved a 27.1 at WEG last fall. This pair sit equal with Quarrycrest Echo and Piggy French for best 5* average in the field and seem to really step up when it matters, as their 5* average is three and a half points better than their A/4* average.

Aiming for: Top of the Leaderboard

Ride time: 2:44 p.m.

Buck Davidson (USA) and Copper Beach: Copper Beach and Buck Davidson have had a long career together at the top levels by now, and they’ve been no stranger to the leaderboard. Copper Beach has laid down one of the top three 4* personal bests in the field but has yet to replicate his 4* success at this level. With their time slot in the very last session, this pair have a great shot to best their 5* PB of 30.7 and end up near the top contenders.

Aiming for: Top Ten

Ride time: 2:52 p.m.

Lauren Kieffer (USA) and Vermiculus: Vermiculus is now making his third start at Kentucky with Lauren Kieffer and having the last slot of the day could make a big difference in this cheeky horse’s score. This horse burst onto the 5* scene with a bang in 2017, laying down a 29.2 that not many expected out of him. Although he hasn’t broken the 70% barrier since early in 2018, Lauren will squeeze every point out that she can.

Aiming for: Top Ten

Ride time: 3:00 p.m.

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