Fair Hill, MD -Spectators and competitors enjoyed a thrilling day of cross country at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event where international pairs battled Derek di Grazia's challenging track. Colleen Rutledge took over The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI*** Eventing National Championship with Covert Rights, and Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius kept their lead of The Dutta Corp./ USEF CCI** Eventing National Championship.
A fast cross country round awarded Maryland-native Colleen Rutledge and her own Covert Rights the top position in the CCI*** division. The 11-year-old Thoroughbred Cross remains on his dressage score (39.8) after a fault free performance.
"He gets every gold star I could possibly give him. He saved my butt when I got us into trouble, and he was foot perfect at ninety percent of the course," she commented noting that she had experience on her side with four-star partner Covert Rights. "Luckily I know that he's got the experience behind him. He's already done two four-stars. He reads the fences. He's so much more mature now, and he's so much more experienced now where I could just gallop down and see the stride from six strides away and attack the fences. That was probably one of the most fun cross countries that I've had in a long time."
Overnight leaders Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High finished four seconds above optimum time to drop them into second place. John and Judy Rumble's 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse picked up 1.6 time penalties to sit on a two-phase result of 41.
"The time wasn't his fault at all," O'Hanlon explained. "As we know, 'Woody' is one of the fastest horses we've got and he was on form, full of running right to the end. The easy galloping fences in between where I should've been able to gallop out of stride, I ended up wasting too much time at straightforward galloping fences."
"Because I was worried about his fitness in the warm up, I should've done one or two straightforward galloping fences," she continued. "I wanted to save everything I had for the course, but I needn't have worried because he felt phenomenal right to the end."
William Coleman and The Conair Syndicate's Tight Lines leapt from 13th to third after an incredible effort across country. The 10-year-old Thoroughbred continues on a score of 46.3.
"He never lacks run or gallop. He's just an animal out there. It was a hard course but thought it as a proper test. I think it's a testament for the cross-country riding in this country," Coleman commented. "It was a difficult three-star, and I've ridden a lot of three-stars around the world and I would put Fair Hill at the very top in terms of difficulty."
For further information on The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, please call 410-398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.