Sharon White and Meghan O’Donoghue are your Advanced winners at Morven Park following an influential cross country that shuffled the final leaderboards.
Sharon White is using this weekend as Cooley On Show‘s final prep for the CCI4*L at Tryon in November, and she expressed excitement at tackling Tremaine Cooper’s beefy track today. She would turn in a quick footed clear round with 17 seconds of time (no pairs would make the optimum time of 7 minutes) to overtake overnight leaders Will Coleman and Tight Lines for the win on a score of 36.3.
“It was definitely challenging in a good way,” Sharon said of Tremaine Cooper’s updated cross country track which can serve as a bit of a preview for what’s to come on the CCI4*L track. “There is so much space here and I think this is the most beautiful piece of ground for cross country riding. (The course) was very ‘gallopy’ and it was a great fitness run.”
Tryon with its terrain will certainly be a test of conditioning next month, so this run leaves Sharon with a great feeling as a benchmark of “Louie’s” fitness. She says she’ll go home and work on fine tuning the Irish Sport Horse gelding’s flatwork.
Will Coleman and the Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines wouldn’t fall too far and will take home second place for their efforts today on a score of 37.2.
Will told EN that his intention with “Phish” is to save the Thoroughbred gelding for five-star competition next year. To that end, we may see Phish get a well-earned break to finish out the rest of the abbreviated 2020 season. “He’s made to gallop those big tracks, so I’m really just thinking more toward next year,” Will said yesterday.
Buck Davidson finishes both of his Advanced A horses inside the top four, with Carlevo LLC’s Carlevo (39.0) in third and Kat and Roberto Cuca’s Jak My Style (39.6) with a few seconds of time accumulated on each horse.
Many riders, aware of bigger goals still to come this fall, used this run as practice and fitness which made for some steadier rides. Time here is notoriously difficult to catch here at Morven Park; Ema Klugman and Bendigo were the quickest (“I had not planned to push for the time but he was having none of that and sped around!” she wrote on her social media) across both Advanced divisions with a time of 7:05, moving up from 20th after dressage into seventh to finish this weekend. This partnership is always fun to watch; you can usually count on these two to make some moves up the board with their strength in the jumping phases.
A planned withdrawal from Advanced B overnight leader Ariel Grald (Leamore Master Plan) left the door open. Meghan O’Donoghue and her own Palm Crescent had themselves a day to move from fourth into first on a final score of 40.5. Meghan has patiently produced this 14 year old Thoroughbred gelding up the levels, who made his debut at the CCI4*S in 2019.
Meghan is also using this weekend as preparation for the Tryon CCI4*L, which is to be Palm Crescent’s third start in the longer format. “I thought Tremaine (Cooper) set a proper track and I’m thrilled my horse went around super today,” she commented. An ownership shift and the coronavirus pandemic has made for a lighter 2020 for Palm Crescent, but the former racehorse has proven to be a consistent performer for Meghan nonetheless.
Meghan expressed her gratitude to the gelding’s previous owners, the Shipka family, for giving her the opportunity to keep the talented horse in her program. “The horse deserves a win at this level,” she said. “He keeps showing up for me!” She also expressed her sympathies for Allie Sacksen, who tragically lost her partner Sparrow’s Nio on cross country today. “Amongst my joy I must acknowledge the sadness surrounding today,” Meghan said. “My thoughts are with Allie and her team.”
Boyd Martin also put in a clear round aboard the Luke 140 Syndicate’s Luke 140 to retain his second position on a final score of 41.9. We’ll see this pair next on the West coast at the Galway Downs CCI4*L at the end of this month.
Completing the top three in the Advanced B are Will Faudree and Jennifer Mosing/Sterling Silver Stables’ Mama’s Magic Way, who collected just 5.2 time to finish on a score of 42.4.
Two riders were listed with Mandatory Retirements on the live scores: Caroline Martin on Danger Mouse in the Advanced B and Ariel Grald on BGS Aurora in the Intermediate A. Both riders have reported that both they and their horses are uninjured.
Looking to the Intermediate divisions, Sara Murphy and Devil Munchkin (32.4), Ariel Grald and Anne Eldridge’s Caballe (32.1), and Allison Springer and Nancy Winter’s Crystal Crescent Moon (32.8) are your weekend winners following the cross country conclusion.
As we celebrate these highs, we are also sending our condolences to the Sacksen family, who lost their dear friend Sparrow’s Nio on course in the Advanced today. The loss of a horse is among the worst things to have to report, and we are so sorry to write of this tragedy. Rest peacefully, Nio.