Phillip Dutton and his duo of bay geldings, Z and Fernhill Singapore, are coming off of a successful weekend at the Stable View CCI4*-S. Dutton kept the momentum going to lead after the first two phases at the Morven Park CCI4*-S. While Z and Fernhill Singapore came to Morven to just do a combined test in preparation for the Fair Hill CCI4*-L, Dutton was still pleased with their performances today.
Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by Tom Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, scored a 31.80 to sit in third after dressage and with less than half the division leaving all the rails up, a double clear show jumping round boosted him into the lead.
Z only competed one time before the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day this spring and then went directly to Aachen, but Dutton changed his philosophy a bit for the lead up to Fair Hill. “He is pretty reliable now especially in the dressage although I am still hoping I can do better at Fair Hill. It has been a good process getting him out a bit more,” explained Dutton. “The idea was to get him out to do more jumper classes and cross-country schooling to have less wear and tear on his legs, but in reality there is nothing that can replace just getting out and competing – especially with the cross-country. I can probably back off a bit more competing wise after Fair Hill for next season, but it was important to compete him a fair bit this fall.”
Sitting in second and less than a point behind his stablemate is Fernhill Singapore, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Singapore x Riedellia) owned by Ann Jones, Tom Tierney, and David Vos, who also jumped a double clear round.
“Fernhill Singapore is new-ish to this level, and things just really started to click with him the last few months. He’s always been such a talented, athletic horse but putting it all together wasn’t always so easy. I think he has a big future ahead of him,” said Dutton.
With Z and Fernhill Singapore withdrawing Dutton said that all his hopes now lie on Sea of Clouds who is in fifth on his dressage score of 36.0.
Allison Springer and Katie Lichten’s Sapphire Blue B, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Heritage Fortunus x Lucy Blue) were in second after dressage on a 30.8, but one rail down dropped them into third. However, they will head into cross-country as the overnight leaders.
Hannah Sue Burnett and Lukeswell, the 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Puissance x Gentle Servant) owned by the Lukeswell Partnership top the Advanced with a 26.3 – the only pair to score to break the 30 mark in the 11-horse division.
“The dressage was really good,” said Burnett. “I am really pleased with him. It has been a bit of a work in progress just getting to know each other. He is a really fancy big moving horse, but he is also really insecure and spooky. He will spook at anything even the ground if there is nothing else to spook at – so we give him treats at all the letters [when practicing]. Since this wasn’t an FEI class we didn’t have the arena familiarization and when I saw the sandbags holding the ring down [due to the windy weather] I was like ‘oh no this is going to be a huge problem.’ But in warm-up there was a practice ring with sandbags so we gave him treats at all the sandbags. If he isn’t spooking he is perfect – he just goes around and does his job.”
This is Burnett’s first year competing Lukeswell who previously competed at the 2015 European Championships with Sam Watson before being sold to Katherine Coleman. So what has Burnett done to develop their partnership? “A lot of flatwork, but not drilling him – he knows how to do his job. He had such great training from Sam Watson and Katherine Coleman. He needed to learn to do what I said instead of just doing his own test which was a lot of spooking and extended trot. I spent a lot of time doing boring walk/trot transitions and getting him to listen to me and it is really starting to come together.”
Mara DePuy and her own 12-year-old Dutch warmblood, Congo Brazzaville C stayed on their dressage score of 30.0 to hold onto second. Meghan O’Donoghue and Chase Shipka’s Palm Crescent, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Quiet American x Edey’s Village) sit in third on 32.7.
In the Area II Advanced championships, Jules Ennis and Cooley O, her own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Caricello x Lady Glebe) are currently leading on a 40.9 with one show jump down while Ema Klugman and Bendigo, Jeni Klugman’s 17-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by Refuse to Lose jumped a clear round to sit on their dressage score of 43.9.
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