Veronica Green-Gott contributed to this report.
We knew Phillip Dutton and Z had been plenty competitive at Stable View in the past. We also knew Z (Asca Z – Bella Bouche B by Babouche vh Gehucht Z), who is 15 this year, has continued to mature and display the fiercely competitive spark that’s become synonymous with a Dutton ride during the eight years (so far) of partnership they now share. So it came as little shock to see the pair skip to the eventual victory on Saturday across Capt. Mark Phillips’ 10-year anniversary CCI4*-S cross country track, ending their Oktoberfest weekend on a score of 35.3.
Phillip’s on a mission to tick off as many CCI5* events with Z — he’s gotten Kentucky, Maryland, and Badminton done to this point — with the next stop being Pau, the final 5* of this season in southern France (October 26-29). Stable View, then, would be his final prep run before packing away for the trek to France.
“Z had an excellent round,” Phillip said. “I didn’t try to break any speed records, but wanted to give him a really good last prep for Pau.”
Lucienne Bellissimo and Dyri (Diarado – La Calera, by King Milford) added yet another clear cross country run to their record at the 4* level, going quick enough today to move up from third to finish second on a score of 40.3. This was also their quickest turn of foot at the level, setting them up nicely to go on and build on this performance at the Morven Park 4*-L in just over a week’s time.
“I liked the last half of the track a lot,” Lucienne, who said she was really looking forward to getting a second trip around on Dyri after first tackling it aboard her other ride, Tremanton. “It just rewarded forward riding, and for Dyri that’s what he needs to just learn to keep moving to the open spot a little more and believe in himself. I did my best to have a quick round but I think Phillip Dutton and I had identical time faults so as anticipated he maintained the lead.”
Also making some moves up the board are Aiken local Sarah Kuhn and her own Mr. Cash van de Start (Deauville van T L – Ishtar van de Start, by Toulon), aiming for their 5* debut at Maryland later in October and setting up well with a clear run today. ““I had a fantastic ride,” Sarah said. “Everything rode to plan. My horse was fantastic. He was looking for everything, jumping really well,” said Kuhn. “He actually lost his front shoes somewhere, I don’t know where because he was galloping and jumping amazingly the whole time.”
Melanie Smith and her OTTB Shakedown Street (Survivalist – My Dear Rose, by Wolf Power) also delivered an impressive result this weekend, stalking the leaders steadily after starting the competition in 13th standing. This pair has about a year of experience at the Advanced and 4* level, and a look at their FEI record tells a cool story of selecting variety in venue to gain the mileage that’s invaluable to keep moving up. This is the fourth unique venue they’ve competing in 4* competition at, and will likely be prepping for a first 4*-L to cap off their season.
Emily Hamel and Corvett (Corrido – Tina XII, by Clearway) round out the 4*-S top five here at Stable View, also moving up all the way from 18th after dressage. Emily, also one who could probably tick off every 5* in the world if she had enough funding, is aiming for the Maryland 5 Star with “Barry” next, and will be pleased with two clear jumping rounds and a quick cross country today. That quick cross country is something she’s been honing with her enthusiastic horse, who’s certainly shown he can be increasingly efficient despite the extra space he gives each jump.
Oktoberfest marks 10 years of four star competitions at Stable View — and we also had one other 10-year anniversary in our ranks today as it’s Sarah Kuhn’s 10th 4* four star completion with Mr. Cash van de Start. At 11 years old, “Mr. Cash” is an experienced upper level eventer. Similar to Phillip with 9th-placed Azure, Sarah was using Oktoberfest as one last event prior to the pair’s move-up to the 5* level at the Maryland 5* at Fair Hill.
“(Corrido – Tina XII, by Clearway)I thought the course was great and he handled it really well,” Kuhn said.
The 4* leader had a lot to say both about the course design and the ground itself. “Aiken in the summertime can go a bit hard, but Barry’s done a good job getting good grass cover so it doesn’t cut up like it can do without that grass there,” Phillip commented. “They went to the trouble of putting a bit more brush in it now, so that prepares you a bit more for the bigger events in the long format, which usually have more brush than the Horse Trials do. So that was a good addition as well.”
Oktoberfest in 2023 concludes a decade of course designer Captain Mark Phillips’ work with the venue. For his last course, he designed the CCI4* track to help riders prepare for the next level. “It’s three weeks before Maryland. I think that anyone that’s had a good ride down here will go to Maryland with a lot of confidence,” said Captain Phillips.
While owners Barry and Cyndy Olliff are always working hard to improve the footing at the venue, Captain Phillips has already seen the venue change over the years. “From where we started ten years ago, when it had been used for quail, and it hadn’t been used to hunt quail in a long time. A lot of it was overgrown. So, over ten years, we’ve seen a dramatic transformation, which doesn’t have to do with me, obviously. But I guess I helped a little bit.”
Young Horses Shine on Championship Weekend
Out of the large CCI3* division, one horse and rider pair rose to top the leaderboard: Allison Springer and Nancy Winter’s No May Moon (Catherstown Dazzler – Ebony Moon, Mystic Replica). The pair finished strong, adding no faults to their dressage score, for a final score of 29.8.
In the CCI2*, Elisa Wallace and Donna Biggs and Rosemarie Spillane’s Lissavorra Quality (O.B.O.S. Quality – Soolmoy Lucy, Lux Z) led all three phases to wind up in first place with a score of 33.2. The rider also took fourth place in the CCI2* with her own Tullymurry Fifi (Lougherne Cappucino – Kearneystown Lass, Convinced).
This weekend also plays host to the USEF/USEA Eventing Developing Horse National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds, which are run as 2*-S and 3*-S competitions, respectively.
Winning the highly competitive CCI3*-S Young Horse Championships were Allie Knowles and Katherine O’Brien’s P.S. I Love You (FSS Correlli Bravo – Woodmount Queen, Crannagh Hero). Allie and “Jerry” ended up with just 0.8 time faults on cross country, leaving them with a score of 33.4, nearly finishing on their dressage score. “I just had so much faith in Jerry. He’s a machine, like he just went out of the box and had his ears pricked the whole time and acted like he’s done this level for years,” she said. “It was incredible. Like, I could not believe how well he went around that track. He definitely exceeded my expectations.”
Cornelia Fletcher and her own DHI Qyaracolle Z (Quinar Z – Celiacolle Z, Chellano) came in second place in the division, a win that Fletcher sees many more of in the mare’s future. “She’s a bit aggressive but in a nice way, you know? She’s very serious about her job. And that’s just how she’s always been. And she’s kind of a character,” Cornelia said. “But she does love it. And she loves us. And she’s always been really, really thoughtful and smart about the jumps. And I mean, she probably has the best jumping brain I’ve ever sat on. Like she just reads the fences so quickly and so well and is so brave.”
Wrapping up the top three were Sarah Kuhn and Hashtag Trending, barn name “Trendy.” “Trendy really stepped up. He’s only done two Intermediates and obviously he’s only a seven-year-old, so this was really a big ask. And honestly, he did it easily. He was very rideable and he jumped really immaculately. I was honestly shocked,” said Sarah. “I thought I was gonna have to work a bit harder because he was green, but he really found it quite easy. So that was amazing for the future.”
In the CCI2*-S Young Horse Championships, Allison Springer came in as the leader of the group with The Zebedee Group’s Monbeg Zebedee (Dignified Van’t Zorgvliet – Bolacreane Dolly, Cult Hero). “He was super. He got a little stronger on me. I haven’t started out so fast before him. That’s the first time I’ve actually kind of kicked on. I mean, he is only six, but he’s ready for it,” she said. “But I really had a strong first bit of the course and he got a little excited. He got a little bit strong in areas but he’s such a good jumper and he has a really nice rhythm. So you know, he’s really a good young horse. It’s very exciting.”
Second place Gabby Dickerson was just 0.2 points behind Allison Springer. Riding her own Top Carrera (Carridam – Cecil, Contendro I), the pair put in a strong performance to finish on their dressage score. “Then this season, he’s had quite a few wins. A Training level win, a modified win. He’s done very well and stepped up to the Preliminary level really well. And then this is his first CCI2*, and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Gabby explained. “He’s really just getting better and better. So I’m super excited about him. And I definitely want to try and stay on this path to maybe go to Lion next year.”
The Advanced division wrapped up today, with Arden Wildasin and her own Sunday Times (Cult Hero – Lackaghbeg Crest, Sea Crest) winning the division on a score of 55.5. Arden and Sunday Times shot to the top of the roster on day two of competition, after a fast cross country round with no jumping faults.
Open Intermediate wrapped up competition as well, with Andrew McConnon and his own Wakita 54 (Plot Blue – Werusa, Padinus) stepping into first place after a lot of movement in the ranks. With a score of 37.6, Andrew and Wakita 54 finish nearly three points ahead of the competition.
Tomorrow spectators can enjoy stadium and cross country rounds for the remaining National levels, including Beginner Novice, Novice, and Preliminary.