The finale of the 2019 edition of the Ocala Jockey Club International Three-Day Event CCI4*-L could not have been more dramatic. First Sharon White comes in with Cooley On Show, sitting in fourth place, but White starts the course before the buzzer was sounded and was eliminated. Then Erin Sylvester and Campground come in and have a rail down, but with only two previous double clears they seem to be able to hold on to their third place spot. Then Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds come in and have a very unusual seven rails down. Overnight leaders Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo have three rails in hand in order to stay on top of the division. Landmark’s Monte Carlo slams on the brakes, Kieffer circles and has the rail down, and then one additional rail and some time penalties give the win to Sylvester and Campground.
Sylvester and Marnie Kelly’s 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Forest Camp x Kneel) started the weekend in 24th place out of 31 pairs in the CCI4*-L, but at the end they were the victors. And for Sylvester this is her second four-star victory in the row having just won the Fair Hill International CCI4*-L last month with Paddy the Caddy.
Learn more about Campground from Sylvester:
“He’s a really special horse, but he is a Thoroughbred and every event isn’t his special day and this was his special day,” said Sylvester. “He’s got a heart of gold. I wasn’t sure what I was going to have in the show jumping today. I tried a different bit and a different warm-up and I couldn’t have felt better in the arena. He didn’t get as nervous as he has in the past. I got a great feeling over the first few jumps, and I thought, ‘All right he’s going to do this.’ I tried to pilot him the whole way around and get him to the distances he wants to be in. He just really tried out there. . . It’s not in the bag for him to have a good show jumping he has to try really hard and he did that today.”
Even with his 12 jump and 2 time penalties, Landmark’s Monte Carlo, Jacqueline Mars’ 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Formula One x Glamour), held onto second place – finishing less than two points out of the win.
Ema Klugman and her own and Jeni Klugman’s Bendigo, a 17-year-old Trakehner gelding by Refuse to Lose, made their own impressive move up the leaderboard starting the competition in 28th place on a 42.9, adding 7.6 time penalties on the cross-country to sit in 10th overnight and then jumping one of only two double clear show jumping rounds to end up in the top three. Hallie Coon and Celien were the only other double clear round to move from 17th overnight into ninth.
Like the CCI4*-L, Chris Barnard’s CCI3*-L show jumping course proved extremely influential. Only three of the 27 starters kept all the rails up and crossed the finish timers in time. With two Olympic medalists in the top two spots the results seemed to be secure, but both Leslie Law and Phillip Dutton added penalties that opened the door for Arden Wildasin to move up from fifth to first with her double clear aboard Il Vici.
Wildasin and Il Vici, her own 15-year-old Australian Thoroughbred gelding (Galileo x Ladyeri) scored a 34.0 for eighth after dressage and added no penalties in either jumping phase for the win.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s going to be a great ride home I can tell you that,” said Wildasin after her win. “Riding [Il Vici] is very special. Every single day he wants to try. It’s a partnership, but I will say having a Thoroughbred they can run, and they have the thrill of running, but he’s so careful and quick with his feet and agile. I’m very blessed to have mom and dad to be able to have him.
Wildasin originally was entered in the Fair Hill CCI4*-L with him, but after not getting a qualifying score in dressage, she decided to withdraw and reroute him here and end the season on a strong note.
“He’s 16 now, but he keeps on coming foot forward every day he wants to work. To wake up every single day and have the horses that I have in the barn it’s an honor,” said Wildasin. “I went over to Australia to buy him and that was a fun trip. I need to learn so much more, but he’s been there. He doesn’t want to hold it against you but when everything works together it shines."
Leslie Law and Sally Cox’s 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare Zick Zack (Blue Hors Zack x Mercedes), dropped just one spot to second with their rail down.
Lauren Lambert and her 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Fantastique (Toulan x Nikitona), had a rail down but maintained their overnight third place standing since Dutton picked up a time penalty in addition to a rail.
It was a wire-to-wire win for William Coleman and Chin Tonic HS, Hyperion Stud’s 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Wildera). The pair jumped a double clear show jump round to take home the blue in the CCI2*-L finishing on their dressage score of 24.2.
“He was great all weekend,” said Coleman. “It’s his first long format and we’ve taken a long time developing him, but I think he’s got a bright future and I really couldn’t be happier with him, he did everything we asked for – he’s still young and he was great.”
Coleman had also been sitting in second on Steam Engine, but Team Rebecca’s 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding pulled four rails, so the pressure was on when Chin Tonic HS went into the ring. “I wasn’t thinking about it at all on [Chin Tonic HS], I could light the jumps on fire and he would jump them, he’s very brave and super quality and I knew he would jump a clear round.”
Chin Tonic HS will have a good break now with his shoes pulled and downtime until December before aiming for a move-up and CCI3*-L in the spring.
The CCI4*-S finished their weekend out on the cross-country course this morning with not a single combination making the time allowed of 7 minutes and 8 seconds. Sixteen of the 20 combinations finished with just two of those picking up jump penalties.
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ 14-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia), picked up 16.8 time penalties, but still maintained the top spot to win the class.
Jessica Phoenix and Bogue Sound had the fastest round of the day by far with just 2.4 time penalties. Amara Hoppner’s 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Crafty Shaw x Carolina Blue) moved up from seventh to finish second adding just a bit of time in show jumping and cross-country.
Leslie Law and Voltaire De Tre, Tre’ Book’s 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Gentleman IV x Jasmina Du Fresne) were the last pair on course and could have taken over the top spot, but 9.2 time penalties settled them into third in the final standings.
Full results can be found here.
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At the second-to-last of 40 efforts, "I thought, 'This is actually happening,'" said Amber Levine of a faultless finish with Cellar Farm's Cinzano today to stay on their 31.5 lead going into show jumping tomorrow morning in the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI4*-L. The Jeffs Hot Tub Waves complex at 19 a/b was the awkward exception to a Hugh Lochore-designed course that otherwise "rode great" for the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) in his long-delayed debut at the level. An entirely new portion of the course around the racetrack featured a series of bright-white painted obstacles, but nothing distracted Cinzano's "tunnel vision for those flags." Levine expects a similar game attitude tomorrow and has a rail to spare.
Black stallion antics after the CCI4*-L jog inspection yesterday were not a preview of Cinzano's dressage test today. "When you are riding and working him, he's all into what you are doing," says Amber Levine, who owns the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) through her Cellar Farm. A 31.5 dressage test puts them atop a field of four, three of which, including Cinzano, are first-timers in the division in Paso Robles, California.
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The Chattahoochee Hills H.T. is hosting one of three CCI4*-S divisions this weekend across the country and with 34 entries they have the largest turnout as riders prepare for their spring CCI4*-L and CCI5*-L goals. The facility in Fairburn, Georgia is running seven events in 2021, but their April event is the only one offering a CCI4*-S.