Allison Springer and Lord Willing were first into the ring for the CIC3* division and, despite a few bobbles, laid down a 31.6 that no one could catch for most of the morning. It took until Phillip Dutton, just three riders before the lunch break, before anyone in the division managed to score in the 20s. Phillip and Dr. Kevin Keane’s 11-year old Irish Sporthorse laid down a 29.7 to lead going into the lunch break.
Phillip Dutton was first paired with Sportsfield Candy back in 2016, moving the horse up to Advanced and the 3* level in their time together. Kevin Keane was looking for a new upper-level partner and ended up buying the gelding and running him at Advanced and 3* in 2017. After Kevin broke his leg in a fall off a young horse early this spring, Phillip took back the ride for the 2018 season. Their partnership has already been fruitful, with a 2nd at Jersey Fresh CIC3* and a top-five finish at the Great Meadow CICO3*, with Kevin watching closely from the sidelines.
Cool and cloudy conditions this morning made for some fresh horses, some of whom struggled through tension early. Sportsfield Candy stayed relaxed and willing for Phillip, with correct changes helping them to a strong score. The atmosphere is as quiet as Plantation gets; flags flap in the breeze but the vendor village is just starting to open and spectators are scarce still.
Stay tuned this afternoon, as heavy hitters Clayton Frederick with FE Ophelia and Emily Beshear with Olney Uncle Sam try to topple Phillip from the pole position.