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Temecula's Smith wins CCI1* and 2*; red-hot Dutton, 'Fugitive' take 3*

Special to the Horsetrader - November 20th, 2015 - Cover Story, Feature Article, Show & Event News

TEMECULA — Phillip Dutton has been in this position many times—last to go with not a rail in hand. He’d already jumped a clear round on the young Mr. Candyman, who could then finish no lower than fourth in the headline CCI3* division, at the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event on Oct. 28-Nov. 1.

After an unanticipated clattering through a warm-up fence, Dutton, of Pennsylvania, set his trademark Secret Service expression and galloped overnight leader Fernhill Fugitive into the arena and around Marc Donovan’s 560-meter track. The 15-obstacle course had just seen Lauren Kieffer (Middleburg, Va.) and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett take an unlucky rail at the wine bottle vertical before the last triple combination, dropping them one place to third (49.8).

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive show their winning form in winning the CCI3* at the Galway Downs International.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive show their winning form in winning the CCI3* at the Galway Downs International.

Sherry Stewart photo

As Fernhill Fugitive cleared the final oxer of the triple combination to finish with 43.4 penalties, the spectators lining the arena erupted in cheers and were treated to a rare display of Dutton emotion as he cracked a huge grin, enthusiastically patted “Jack,” and high-fived with head groom Emma Ford. Afterward, he summed up his thoughts about his Pan Am Games gold-medal partner, who had top-10 finishes at Rolex Kentucky and the Pan Am Games this year. “I couldn’t be any more proud of the horse—he’s just had a great year. Every year he just seems to get better and better. I am so excited for him and for [owners] Annie Jones and Tom Tierney, who have been very patient with him.” He continued, “He’s been a great horse, it’s been an incredible year for him. I wasn’t that confident going in because I don’t usually get too many clear rounds with him, but he did enough today. I’m really proud of him.”

Alexandra Knowles of Kentucky was beaming about her clear and exuberant round on the Sound Prospect LLC’s 13-year-old gelding Sound Prospect, which advanced her to second place (46.7) behind Dutton. “He is a phenomenal show jumper, but he does get very excited, so it’s hard to keep him actually relaxed and calm. He did his job and he took me around and I couldn’t be more happy with him,” said Knowles, who lived across the street from Galway Downs for many years. “And a huge thank you to the syndicate owners for making this happen. This was a huge endeavor,” she said with her voice cracking and tears filling her eyes. “It’s a big deal for me to come back and do this,” referring to organizing the trip to fly the horse from her current base in Paris, Ky., to compete at Galway Downs.

Dutton Shows The Way
As third to start on Ian Stark’s revamped CCI3* track, Dutton had scant feedback to use before heading out on Ann Jones’ Mr. Candyman, since the first two starters—Jessica Phoenix and James Alliston—chose to retire after having run-outs on course.

Crowds cheered as Dutton sent the young gelding through each of the direct options, finishing 3 seconds under the optimum time of 10:23, eventually moving the pair up the rankings eight places to fourth place overall on 50.9 penalties. Dutton repeated the performance on Fernhill Fugitive to take over the lead on a score of 43.4. Dutton produced two of the three hard-to-come-by double-clear rounds in the division. He praised both horses, noting they were much different rides. “The first one is quite green,” he said of Mr. Candyman, adding that this was the gelding’s first CCI3*. “I haven’t had him that long [but] he’s got all the makings of it. I’ve got to put a bit more of the basics into him. He is a great prospect for the future. “This guy [Fernhill Fugitive] has got a bit more experience about him, although not quite as fast, so I had to chance things a bit on the approach. I couldn’t be more pleased with him, he just really dug in deep the whole way round. I was down on the clock, and I asked him to come home strong, and he just put his head down and kept going. It’s been a great year for this horse. Hopefully it will build for next year.”

Kieffer gave her Pan Am partner, Meadowbrook’s Scarlett, a steady and accurate ride to finish just 2 seconds over the time, for a score of 45.8. It was the first real outing for the young Thoroughbred mare owned by Marie Le Menestrel since the Pan Am Games.

Knowles had the quickest time of the day, stopping the clock 16 seconds under the time on Sound Prospect.
Smith Victorious In CCI2* and CCI1*

Tamra Smith climaxed her unforgettable year by winning both the CCI1* and 2*, on the heels of her Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI3* National Championship win in Maryland two weeks earlier.

Fleeceworks Royal, a 6-year-old, gray Holsteiner mare owned by Judith McSwain, responded perfectly to Smith’s careful riding in the CCI1* to earn a clear round and top honors in the competitive division that saw multiple changes in the standings as rails dropped.

Overnight leader Lord Lombardi, ridden by owner and young rider Megan Traynham (Arbuckle, Calif.), clipped the second element of last triple combination in show jumping to finish second. Alexandra Tett and her own Quidproquo Des Vatys saw a steady climb in the standings to finish in third place on their dressage score. Traynham overcame the distraction of an unbuckled rein and stayed focused to move up finish cross-country perfectly and take over the two-phase lead. “I just had to steer with one rein, I didn’t know what would happen. He saw the fence and locked on and jumped it fine,” a relieved Traynham said. “As we were galloping off, I had to gather my rein from the ground before he stepped on it.”

Riding Chatwin for friend and new mother Frankie Thieriot Stutes, Smith had a scant 1.1 point lead in the CCI2* division. She entered the arena, last to go and without a rail in hand, after second-placed Marilyn Little had recorded a faultless round on RF Overdressed, 7.

Smith responded by efficiently jumping clear to secure the championship. A delighted Smith cantered Chatwin to the far end of the arena after the finish to give Stutes and her 3-week-old baby a congratulatory hug. “Frankie has really done all the work with this guy,” said Smith. “I am just really happy to have had the ride on him this year. He’s such a cool horse and Frankie deserves all the credit. “This year has just been an amazing journey for me, and I want to thank all of the owners of the remarkable horses I have been so blessed to ride,” she added, holding back tears.

Jonathon Holling of Ocala, Fla., rounded out the top three in the CCI2* division, riding the scopey gray gelding Kildalton Cooley for the Kildalton Group. The pair turned in an important clear show jumping round to earn third place the yellow ribbon. Holling was meant to be the trailblazer on the two-star cross-country course, but an excited Kildalton Cooley spooked and reared on the way to the start box, losing his balance and unseating Holling, whose protective air vest was deployed. Smith was nearby and loaned her vest to Holling so that he could start just one ride later. “I had to take it a little steadier in the beginning because he was so unsettled at the start,” said Holling. “He came away smarter and more confident, so I think I made the right decision, even if it cost me some time.”

Steinbuch and Londa Claim Training Divisions
Marc Donovan’s influential show jumping course proved influential in the two divisions of the Classic Series Training Three-Day Event. In Training Three-Day Division A, Texan Bonner Carpenter and Cele Carpenter’s Darkside were crowned champions with a clear show jumping round. Husband-and-wife team Kimberly Steinbuch and John Michael Durr of Castro Valley took the second and third place awards with positive rides on owner Ruth Bley’s horses EnVogue and Danito. Rails proved costly in the Training Three-Day Division B. Olga Londa of San Jose and her Douglas Rock won the championship on a clear round, advancing from overnight third place. Haley Turner of Alamo and her Orion’s Sweet Rubio dropped one position to second with a rail, while a delighted Christine Poulos of San Carlos and her Cara Clover Princess advanced from a dressage placing of ninth to third overall with clear rounds in both the cross-country and show jumping.

Young Horses Star on Wednesday
Adult amateur Jamie Lawrence of Northridge could not have been more pleased with her college project at the USEA West Coast Young Event Horse Championships for 4-year-old horses, held, along with the USEA West Coast Young Event Horse Championships for 5-Year-Olds, on Wednesday.

Pavi’s Sinfandel, a Trakehner mare by Pavarotti out of Lawrence’s mare Sidra Holland, impressed the judges with the highest marks in the Jumping and Potential section of the 4-year-old division, boosting the pair to first overall with final percentage score of 81.8. “It’s just been a treat to watch her grow up and a good way to end our show season for her this year. I’m just really thrilled with how she was,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence decided to breed Sinfandel’s mother while she was in college. “I had the dam, I was in school, and I thought, ‘Why don’t I breed her?'” she said. “She was a college project. The stallion is Pavarotti, the Trakehner stallion, from San Luis Obispo , where I went to college. I bred to him because I had been around him and he is just a doll to work with. He produces such lovely brains. My mare was hot, so it was nice to have something that gave a mellowing out.”

Reserve champion in the 4-year-old division with a final score of 79.4 was the Hanoverian gelding Rockstar, owned by David Adamo and John Miller, and shown by Adamo of Corte Madera. Jolie Wentworth of Crockett rode Tracy Bowman’s Hanoverian gelding KF Peroni to third place with a final percentage score of 77.6.

In the very competitive 5-year-old division, Barbara Crabo’s mount Quite Electric, owned by Bo and Margareta Crabo of Scottsdale, Ariz., garnered the championship with high scores in both the Conformation and Jumping sections. The homebred Swedish Warmblood gelding had a few moments of greenness in the dressage portion, but he prevailed with a final score of 82.3. “He’s a really good boy, but he is also really spooky. Every time someone moved up in the tent, he was scooting, then he kicked the rail and he spooked,” Crabo laughed. “But when he was good, he was super good. It actually showed me that they [the judges] were judging potential and not [just] how good can you be today.”

Only .1 percentage point separated Reserve Champion Rondelet (80.5), ridden by Erin Kellerhouse, from third-placed Get Rowdy (80.4), ridden by Heather Morris.

The judging panel for the USEA Young Event Horse Championships —Ian Stark, Bea di Grazia and Cathy Tucker-Slaterbeck —judged both the East Coast Finals, held two weeks earlier, and the West Coast Finals. “The course here at Galway Downs was beautifully prepared, nice flow to the show jumping into the cross-country,” said di Grazia. “We got to see water and up banks and ditches, and it was very comparable to what we saw at Fair Hill [site of the East Coast Championships]. “But grass versus dirt,” she laughed, describing the difference in footing between Maryland-located Fair Hill and California’s Galway Downs.
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