The CCI4*-L title will be Liz Halliday-Sharp’s to seal tomorrow at Tryon’s spring International, presented by Fairfax & Favor, after securing a clear cross country round onboard Ocala Horse Properties‘ + the Nutcracker Syndicate’s Cooley Nutcracker. Despite the addition of 3.6 time penalties, Liz had enough penalty marks in hand to retain her lead — though Jacob Fletcher and Fabian (previous 4*-S winners at both Tryon and TerraNova last year) are hot on her heels just .2 marks behind. Jacob and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding turned in one of three clear rounds inside the time on Saturday to remain on their dressage score of 31.2.
Cooley Nutcracker, a 9-year-old Irish gelding by Tolant R previously campaigned through the 3* level by French rider Astier Nicolas, will vie for his first 4* win on Sunday. Historically, he’d be a pretty reliable show jumper; he’s had one rail down at the 4*-S level. Jacob and Fabian would be ones with a chance of lowering a rail, but they’ve jumped clear rounds when it matters most, including most recently after the grueling cross country at the Lexington 4*-S in April.
Remaining in third place after cross country at Boyd Martin with DSN Equestrian Ventures’ Commando 3 (Connor 48 – R-Adelgunde), who added two seconds of time to their starting score but remain just ahead of hard-charging Hot Bobo (VDL Arkansas – Taneys Leader), piloted to a double clear today by Karl Slezak.
Both of the aforementioned are some serious top prospects for their respective riders — it’s not difficult to see these two being potentials to hop a plane for this fall’s Pan American Games and, looming even larger, the Olympics in Paris next summer (I know, I know — it’s way too early, but I can’t help it).
Quick rounds were rewarded with moves up the board, notably in this division for New Zealand’s Joe Meyer with the Irish Thoroughbred gelding Harbin (Verglas – Rainbow City), moving from 10th to fifth, and Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54 (Plot Blue – Werusa), moving from 16th to seventh.
Fence 5AB, an oxer over a ditch set on a forward stride to a right handed corner, caused the most trouble on the 4*-L track: three pairs encountered refusals here, with two ending retirements at this question (Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo, Heather Gillette and Vincent Chase).
Boyd Martin claimed three of the top four final spots in the CCI4*-S, taking home the blue on the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B, runner-up with the Turner family’s Tsetserleg, and fourth with the Luke 140 Syndicate’s Luke 140. All three of the Martin horses will now set sight on the next CCI5* on the calendar: Longines Luhmühlen in Germany, June 15-18.
Here’s a look at the leaders of the remaining divisions following Saturday’s action. We’ll conclude competition at Tryon with show jumping for the Long divisions on Sunday.
CCI3*-L: Caroline Martin-Pamukcu and She’s the One (28.7)
CCI3*-S: Buck Davidson and Business Class (38.3)
CCI2*-L: Waylon Roberts and Fernhill Salt Lake (31.6)
CCI2*-S: Liz Halliday-Sharp and Maybach (24.2)
CCI1*-S: Arden Wildasin and Wanama (31.7)
Many thanks to Shannon Brinkman Photography for the shots from Saturday, and keep scrolling for a peek at social media from a jam-packed day.