Phillip Dutton was on the top of the standings heading into the jumping phases at the Stable View Oktoberfest CCI4*-S and while he went home as the winner it wasn’t on his overnight leader. Fernhill Singapore jumped clear in show jumping to keep his lead, but on the cross-country course he picked up 8.8 time penalties ultimately dropping to fifth place.
“I thought he show jumped beautifully, that was probably his best round,” said Dutton of the 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Singapore x Riedellia) owned by Ann Jones, Tom Tierney, and David Vos, Fernhill Singapore scored a 29.4 to lead the class. “It was certainly helpful watching Boyd [Martin] ride him last weekend and I think getting out two consecutive weekends has been good for.”
The time penalties that cost Fernhill Singapore the win came from trouble before Dutton even got out on course. “We misjudged our entrance into the cross-country start box, and I had a little trouble with him there so we wasted a bit of time there, but his cross country was good,” Dutton explained. “When I walked the second water I misjudged his stride length, so I added too much there but apart from that it felt like a perfect round. I could have gone a bit quicker I guess, but overall I was really pleased.”
While the penalties cost Fernhill Singapore from taking home the win, his stablemate Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Bellabouche) owned by Tom Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran was able to bring the glory for Dutton. “I thought Z show jumped really well. We know each other really well now so it’s pretty nice – I know how he’s going to think and I think he anticipates what I want as well,” said Dutton.
“Today was probably his best cross-country round ever, he was really good and it couldn’t be a better prep for him for Fair Hill,” added Dutton.
Dutton didn’t know that he was in first and second heading into cross-country, so that didn’t play a part in his decision to go for the time. “They’re both horses that galloping wouldn’t be their natural strength so getting them fit and learning to go fast is something that I have to work on [with them], so I wasn’t planning on just going really slowly, no matter where I was sitting. Plus the team here at Stable View have done such a great job on the footing with watering, spiking, and grass cover. Obviously, every time you go fast you run a slightly higher risk of injury, but today I felt that it was worth the effort.”
Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection, a 15-year-old Holsteiner mare (Contender x Naomagic I) owned by Mary Ann Ghadban, missed their second CCI4*-S win in a row due to a handful of show jumping time penalties, so settled for second on a 32.00.
Sydney Elliott and Carol Stephens’ QC Diamantaire, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado x Lantana) added one second of time in show jumping and 3.2 time penalties on cross-country to finish out the weekend in third place.
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While Great Britain has a strong lead in the team competition at Tokyo 2020 after the second session of dressage, the USA has climbed up two places to ninth courtesy of Phillip Dutton’s score of 30.5 on Z.
The world number one Oliver Townend has put Great Britain in gold medal position after the first of three sessions of dressage at the Tokyo Olympics.
Second into the arena, Townend delivered an extremely accurate performance and did not waste a mark on the flea-bitten grey 14-year-old Ballaghmor Class to score 23.6 - the fifth-best mark by a British rider at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings.
It’s the turn of the world’s best eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.