Phillip Dutton entered the final round of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* at the Red Hills Horse Trials with three rails in hand. However, the significant lead was wasted as Phillip and the Wildasin’s Mystery Whisper jumped clean around Fuzzy Mayo’s course and added only three time penalties to finish on the score of 35.7. Only seven of the twenty rounds (Rachel Jurgens and Ziggy withdrew before the morning’s horse inspection) in the CIC3* were completed without poles falling.
“I’m very excited about Mystery Whisper,” said Phillip. “It is a bit of a fairy tale to have the horse for a very short amount of time and all credit to Heath Ryan who actually bred the horse, broke the horse, and educated the horse. It’s been pretty easy so far to get to know him, and it’s fortunate that the Wildasins have allowed me to ride the horse for a while.”
“Mystery Whisper is a full warmblood,” explained Phillip. “Traditionally my horses have been Thoroughbreds, but now I virtually don’t have any Thoroughbreds which is a bit disappointing to me. That’s just the way it’s been. Now in days you need to look for a quiet good moving, good jumping horse that can gallop. With my strength being the cross-country, when I am looking for a horse it is okay if it is a little bit slower but better in the dressage or show jumping. To a degree it doesn’t really matter what breed they are as long as they can gallop.”
Phillip’s third placed horse, Team Rebecca LLC’s Ben, is also a full warmblood. “Ben is just an absolute superstar,” said Phillip.” He has just been eventing now for about a year and a half so his climb through the ranks of eventing has been pretty steep. He just tries in every phase. I have devised a bit of a gallop routine especially for him putting him head to head with another horse and he went very well yesterday. He is still a green and up-and-coming horse. This year he still has a lot to learn, but by the end of the year he is going to be a seriously good horse.”
With a water jump created to replicate the one at Greenwich park and the similarities pointed out of the twisty cross-country course and electric atmosphere, the focus of the CIC3* this weekend was definitely this summer’s Olympic games. A first and third finish at Red Hills for Phillip will surely boost his chances of getting on the flight to London.
Although Mystery Whisper was originally purchased by the Wildasin family for their daughter Arden to ride Phillip temporarily has the ride until the Olympics. “Arden does his gallops and some of his trot sets,” explained Phillip. “She is slowly getting used to him, but I think it has been a good process because I got to know the horse, and I will be able to help her better from me riding the horse. The plan is to give him back after the summer though.”
The Olympics are definitely in Mystery Whisper’s sights, but he still needs to do a CCI to get qualified. Phillip hasn’t exactly figured out a sure plan, but you might be seeing them at Rolex this April. Phillip does have a plan worked out for Ben. The pair will be heading over to do the CCI3* at Saumur in France this May in an effort to make a bid for the Olympics.
For his win in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Division, Phillip took home an Adequan USEA Gold Cup Trophy, $500 in prize money, 7-dose box of Adequan, $200 Point Two Gift Certificate, and $500 worth of Nunn Finer Products. In addition Phillip won a year’s lease for a Mercedes SUV which he planning on driving back to Pennsylvania himself.
Marilyn Little-Meredith Has A Stellar Weekend
Sandwiched between Phillip’s horses, Marilyn Little-Meredith rode RF Rovano Rex to the red ribbon in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup division. The pair did drop one rail during the course, but had it in hand after third-placed Michael Pollard and Icarus had three fences down.
Marilyn is no stranger to large show jumping courses on grass as she has ridden in Grand Prix and International Derby competitions that are held under similar circumstances. “I think that whenever you have the hills in the course it really adds a very strong element to it,” said Marilyn, “There was an incredible amount of atmosphere which was fantastic - a lot of energy, fun to ride here in front of all of these people - but the horses definitely feel it and there’s lot to look at. Coming off of cross-country and keeping their attention in the ring and focused on their job is a lot of work.”
“Everything is really being thought of backwards from Rolex,” said Marilyn. “So the next major venue will be the Fork. Rex has proved that he is on his game so I just want to maintain his energy so he will probably just do the Advanced while RF Demeter (who finished 20th in the CIC3*) will do the three-star.”
For her second place finish in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup division, Marilyn took home a 7-dose box of Adequan and a $100 Point Two Gift Certificate.
In addition to her three-star finish, Marilyn topped the leaderboard of the CIC2* with RF Smoke on the Water. “He hasn’t had a weak moment all weekend,” said Marilyn. “So he really deserved the win.”
Smoky will be getting a little break then heading to the Fork. “I would love to get him qualified to do something fun this summer in Europe,” said Marilyn. “When they are this good and they step up this strongly you have such a tendency to keep on running with it, but this is new to him too so I want to go easy on him.”
Below the top placings in the CIC3*, the leaderboard shuffled quite a bit as horses and riders pulled railed and garnered time penalties on course.
In the CIC*, Jimmie Schramm led from go to whoa with Bellamy. The pair added nothing to their dressage score of 46 to lead the victory gallop. Kendal Lehari made a long climb from 11th place in the Advanced to finish on top with Daily Edition. Riders were picking up time penalties left and right in that division so her single digit time penalties gave her a huge overnight leap which she maintained with a clean show jumping round.
Complete results can be found here.
About The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series
Now in its ninth year, the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is an exciting format of competition and entertainment for U.S. Eventing, encompassing seven of the top eventing competitions from around the U.S. where the best of the best vie for prize money, trophies, and the title of Gold Cup Champion.
Winners of each of the seven Gold Cup events across the country take home a trailer-load of prizes for their achievements. Winners receive an Adequan USEA Gold Cup Trophy, $500 in prize money, 7-dose box of Adequan, $200 Point Two Gift Certificate, and $500 worth of Nunn Finer Products. Second place finishers also take home a 7-dose box of Adequan and a $100 Point Two Gift Certificate.
The overall Adequan USEA Gold Cup winner will receive a hefty check for $20,000, an official Gold Cup Champion Jacket, and a huge trophy at the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention. The Reserve Champion receives $1,500 worh of Nunn Finer Products and a Gold Cup Reserve Champion Jacket.
The Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its sponsors: Title: Adequan; Legacy: Nunn Finer; Nutrena;Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency; SmartPak; Point Two.
Photo: Phillip shows off his Adequan USEA Gold Cup Trophy. Leslie Mintz/USEA Photo.