Liz Halliday-Sharp had a monster of a day at Stable View finishing three horses in the top six of the CCI4*-S class, but it was her Monster Partnership-owned Cooley Quicksilver who stole the spotlight — and the win — of the premier class.
“He’s very consistent,” said Liz of the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond) who has been a seasoned campaigner at the upper levels with Liz for several years. “Of course he knows his job and he enjoys it. He was fantastic. I actually had a different bit on him than I haven’t used before. I think he was good in that, and it is just kind of always trying to fine tune the ride on him.”
Overnight leaders after yesterday’s influential show jumping, Liz knew she would release the handbrake for “Monster” on today’s cross country, but it also took careful calculations of course designer Capt. Mark Phillips’ bold, forward lines — especially to the challenging angled line at 18abc where Liz and Monster both had to dig deep to make a gappy two stride — to ensure they met their marks.
“He’s a fighter. He likes being ridden with a bit of pressure — that has always suited his brain. I think he had a good time today,” she said. “Some of the distances were were pretty long, and he never lands far off the jump, so I definitely needed to commit to the distance. But he was a good boy, and he fought for me the whole way.”
Only one of the twenty-five starters beat the clock today: the U.S. World Championship entry Off The Record who was guns blazing for rider Will Coleman in his first International cross country run of the year.
“Timmy was amazing. He just honestly just skipped right around. He’s a little on the muscle — he missed the run at Carolina because it fell off, so he was really happy to be out here doing cross country today,” Will said.
Where some combinations had to fight the clock, the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (VDL Arkansas – Drumagoland Bay) galloped eagerly to meet the time constraints of six minutes fourteen seconds.
“I felt like the horse was smiling ear to ear the whole way around. Maybe a couple of times he was a little, almost over exuberant, but he was just class. I mean, he got the time and I was slowing down at the end. He just flew around,” he said.
Will Coleman finished nearly ten points ahead of the rest of the competition.
Twenty-fourth after dressage, Doug Payne and Quantum Leap had a lot of climbing to do for a top finish, but they seized the opportunity when it presented itself in this afternoon’s rainy conditions. A clear round with only 3.2 time penalties boosted Doug into a third-place result with the Kentucky-bound 12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report).
“Unfortunately the score didn’t reflect it in the dressage, but that was the quietest, most settled he’s ever been, so that was extremely exciting for me,” Doug said of their first-phase result of 33.9. “His jumping has been quite good and reliable, so this was a fun one to go out on even with the conditions — this place, the wetter it is the better the ground,” he said.
Doug is practical about his spring preparatory competitions: he picks the events whose courses will best suit his horses, but as someone who has an ownership stake in most of his upper level rides, he also considers the venues that might be the most financially advantageous.
“I think the prize money is important too. I’ve got to commend Stable View because for these top [horses], in all honesty — they’re quite expensive, and we own a share of almost all these guys, so it helps to keep everything rolling when he have that support.”
Boyd Martin spent several educational seasons at the intermediate level with the 14-year-old Holsteiner (Contender – Veritas, by Esteban) Contessa where he ensured she had the basics and education required to be a competitive, top-level horse, and after a full season at the four-star level, the German-bred mare is really beginning to blossom into the complete event horse package as she heads into her five-star debut later this month. Today, she had a quick, efficient cross country round to move from tenth to fourth place on a score of 39.4.
Liz Halliday-Sharp’s newest ride, Miks Master C, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958) owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties, had a clear and intentionally slower round for fifth place on a score of 40.1.
The third of Liz’s string here, Deniro Z, a 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero – Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by Ocala Horse Properties, was close behind on a result of 40.8. This was a final run for both horses ahead of Kentucky.
“I feel good about where they’re at. I sort of went out with a plan for them, and I feel like they accomplished it. They all ran well. They’ll finish feeling great. I think there were a lot of good questions here and plenty of terrain which was useful in the run up to the five-star,” she said.
Jennie Saville was the busiest rider in the division with four entries, and her longtime partner Stella Artois came out as the most competitive. The 15-year-old Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH — Comtessa, by Contender) had 14 time penalties to finish seventh (41.4).
Less than a point behind is Nina and Tim Gardners’ FE Lifestyle, who actually was quicker than stablemate “Toddy” with only 11 time penalties, to finish in eighth place.
Dressage winner Buck Davidson ended the weekend in ninth place with Katherine O’Brien’s Carlevo, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois), on a score of 44.9 after 14.4 time penalties.
Boyd’s Tokyo and World Championship partner Tsetserleg, 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner, finished in 10th place with 17.6 time penalties (46).
Out of twenty-five starters, only five ran into issues on course, though the clear rounds were heavily affected by time penalties which averaged out at 14.76 points per rider. Of the few jump penalties, only two fences were influential: 12c and 15c.
Early in the going, second-placed Woods Baughman had a fly-by at 12c, a right-handed corner on a mound that was the latter element of a wide table to a double of corners. He represented, but C’est la Vie 135 said no a second time, and he decided to retire. Andrew McConnon also had a runout here with Ferrie’s Cello, though he was successful on his second presentation.
Caroline Martin was the first rider to discover issue at 15c, another right-handed corner off the bounce bank, but successfully cleared it on her second attempt with her new partner HSH Double Sixteen. Lillian Heard Wood and Dassett Olympus also earned 20 penalties here, as well as Tracey Bienemann who ultimately retired at this point in the track with four-star first-timer Reg The Ledge after two refusals.
With a busy and constantly shifting spring calendar, Stable View is, for many, a key preparation for the riders who are entered at the Kentucky CCI5*-L in three week’s time.