EN’s Group Rolex Pick: Round 2

Welcome to round 3 of EN’s group Rolex picks, whereby we have selected 3 combinations from each of our preview posts to move on to round 2.  This is a bracket style competition, and at the end we will have a collective EN pick as the result of our voting in polls throughout the bracket.  
Note: We will also have a separate contest where everyone can enter their own Rolex picks, per the suggestion of PlayerHater.  One member of Eventing Nation will win this contest outright, and they will have the distinction of beating the best and the brightest in the eventing community.  We might have a prize for this contest, depending on if I have time to find a company to sponsor it.  More about that later.
19 Rolex pairs from our preview posts advanced to round 2:
From preview part 1 & 2Boyd and Neville (25%), Bonnie and Merloch (23%), Leslie Law and Mystere (19%) 
From preview part 3Phillip and Kheops (30%), Kim and Tipperary (35%), Hawley and Gin & Juice (13%)
From part 4: Allison and Arthur (30%), Will and Pawlow (28%), Mara and High Patriot (17%)
From part 5: Will and Twizzel (14%), Phillip and Chip (34%), Boyd and Remington (23%)
From part 6: Stephen and Joshua (20%), WFP and Cool Mountain (18%), Becky and Comet (19%)
From part 7: Oliver and Ashdale Cruise Master (28%), Karen and Mandiba (23%), Amy and Coal Creek (19%)
Judge’s save: Woodburn

This is a very strong list, and I think any of these combos has a shot to win Rolex.  Except, I still don’t think there is any chance of Will riding Twizzel less than three weeks after breaking his collar bone, but if they did ride at Rolex, I would put Will and Twizzel in my top 5 for sure.  They have looked great this spring.  

In an effort to foster discussion, here are the best 5 dressage, XC, and show jumping pairs, in my opinion, based on watching the horses this spring and staring at their records for hours for the previews.  

(In no particular order)

Best 5 Pairs at Dressage: 

Becky and Comet: obvious
Mara and High Patriot: best dressage rider in the field
Kim and Tipperary: Jimmy said they would be top 3 after dressage
Will and Twizzel: looked extremely polished in the training sessions and at The Fork 
Leslie and Mystere: consistently good

Best at Cross-Country: 

Phillip and Chip: 2/2 double clears at four-stars

Phillip and Woodburn: best gallop in the field
Oliver and Ashdale Cruise Master: because Oliver is riding
Boyd and Neville: veteran, tough, hard working horse
Will and Pawlow: meshing at just the right time

Best at Show Jumping: 

Stephen and Joshua: 8 SJ penalties since 2003
Phillip and Chip: one rail in last 8 rounds
WFP and Cool Mountain: great SJ rider
Allison and Arthur: looked super at jumping training sessions
Karen and Mandiba: gotta like Karen on Sundays

Coal Creek, Gin & Juice, and Remington all have solid all around games.  I also was close to putting Chip and Ashdale Cruise Master in the best dressage group, and Mystere almost made the top show jumping group.  

Everyone gets three votes again this round, and the top three from each group will move onto round 3.


Oh, I almost forgot-subk requested a preview for Woodburn, but I am very tired so this is going to be short: Wodburn’s dressage is improving, but he has a tendency to get tense and lose his cool.  Best case scenario for Phillip is to get Woodburn in a time slot where there will be a small crowd.  Woodburn is absolutely automatic on XC, with a tremendous gallop.  Show jumping is a liability for Woodburn with the over-under at one rail.  Look for Phillip to ride fast in the early part of the show jumping and steady Woodburn toward the end as Woodburn tends to get more tense as the round progresses.  I think Woodburn will win a 4* someday, and that day could easily come in a few days, but he might need a rail in hand and I’m not convinced that this XC course is going to give that to him.

Oh, I almost forgot, Eventing Nation is new to the world of Twitter, but we plan to learn on the fly at Rolex and the goal is to integrate Twitter into our Rolex coverage.  www.twitter.com/eventingnation

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Also, check out the 3D3W interview with Will Faudree over at the Chronicle.
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