Woodstock, England - Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn made a sizable jump up the leaderboard following a proficient trip across the country on Saturday at the Fidelity Blenheim International Horse Trials. On a day where Eric Winter's difficult CCI3* track caused a shuffle of the standings, the USEF Land Rover Competition Grant Recipients jumped clear picking up 3.2 time faults to stand in ninth place heading into the show jumping on a score of 50.2.
Dutton (West Grove, PA) only began riding Tom Tierney and Simon Roosevelt's 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding this summer and was extremely impressed with his performance on Saturday. Before moving into the Olympic and World Championship veteran's barn, Fernhill Cubalawn was campaigned at the three-star level by Alexandra Green.
"He's a new ride for me, and I'm still getting to know him, so for him to come out at this level and do it relatively easily, I was really happy," said Dutton. "It's a challenging course that doesn't walk super hard, but there's bits to do all the way around. Cuba handled it like a total pro, and he surprised me a bit at the start box, being totally relaxed and with his ears flopping around. He felt great at the end and was still full of gallop. All credit goes to the horse and how he's been educated by Alex Green, and I think he's a good horse for the future."
With Tom Tierney and Ann Jones' nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Fernhill Fugitive, Dutton lays in 38th heading into the show jumping on a score of 88.6 after collecting 20 jumping penalties and 15.6 time faults on Saturday. Just behind them in 39th are Katherine Coleman (New Orleans, LA) and her own 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare, Courage Under Fire, who collected 20 jumping and 7.2 time penalties to now stand on a two day total of 90.2.
American young rider Jacob Fletcher (North Little Rock, Arkansas) was eliminated on the cross country after parting company with his own, Frank Fletcher, and Fletcher Farms' nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Atlantic Domino.
Great Britain's 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team Silver and Individual Bronze medalist William Fox-Pitt leads the field after the cross country with Freddie Mac on a score of 38.0.
Learn more about the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials here.
Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.