Phillip Dutton has become the new rider and manager of the Mr. Medicott Syndicate, taking over that role from Karen O’Connor. Mr. Medicott becomes Phillip’s newest upper-level ride thanks to new owners joining the existing syndicate for the horse, a partnership that was facilitated by Mark Hart and the Event Owners Task Force, according to a post on Phillip’s Facebook page that went up this afternoon:
"We are very excited to announce that Mr. Medicott, the highest-placed U.S. horse at the London 2012 Olympics with Karen O’Connor, has recently arrived at True Prospect Farm to resume his competitive career. We’re thrilled to have Mr. Medicott, or Cave as he’s known in the barn, here at TPF. He is a lovely horse and has obviously been beautifully produced by Karen and the O’Connor Event Team in the last couple of years.
I’m excited to have such a great opportunity to be a part of his continuing career, and we owe Dr. Mark Hart of the Event Owners Task Force and Experience Eventing an enormous debt of thanks for helping to orchestrate the transfer so that the horse could remain in the USA. I’d also like to thank my loyal owners — Bruce Duchossois, Annie Jones, Stephanie Speakman, Tom Tierney and Caroline Moran — who have made this possible by forming a syndicate to purchase Mr. Medicott.
Cave and I are getting to know each other, and as yet we have no firm competition plans, but he seems to be settling in here at TPF very well, and I’m delighted to get on him every day. We look forward to a busy and successful future as part of the U.S. High Performance Program, and I feel very positive about our prospects."
Rumors have been circulating for some time now about the fate of Mr. Medicott following Karen O’Connor’s rotational fall at Morven Park last fall. With this new syndicate, Phillip adds a very seasoned Olympic and WEG competitor to his barn, making his intentions for Normandy next year and other future teams very clear. This is Mr. Medicott’s third rider in less than two years, as Karen O’Connor purchased the horse through a syndicate from Germany’s Frank Ostholt in late 2011 as a prospect for the 2012 London Olympics.
Mr. Medicott, a 14-year-old chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding, had previously finished eighth individually in the 2008 Olympics with Frank and helped clinch the team gold medal for Germany. He placed 10 at Pau in 2011 and third at Pau in 2010, as well as competed at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, where he had a stop on cross country. Karen and Mr. Medioctt’s partnership flourished after she took over the ride. Last year, the pair finished fifth in the Red Hills CIC3*, fourth at The Fork CIC3*, fourth at Rolex and won the Bromont CIC3*, capping off an ideal preparation for the Olympics.
After being named to the Olympic team, Karen and Mr. Medicott delivered the U.S.’s best performance in London, finishing in ninth place individually. The horse had an extended vacation following the Games and Karen’s fall, during which Karen revealed she had not yet sold all the syndicate shares. Mr. Medicott returned to competition at the Fork CIC2* in April with Marilyn Little in the irons. Marilyn spoke openly that weekend about the spring plans for the horse, which at the time included the Jersey Fresh CIC3* and Strzegom CCI3* in Poland. Mr. Medicott competed the following weekend in the Ocala Horse Properties CCI2* to gain a qualifying score with Marilyn and has not competed since.
This is a major win for Phillip, as he now has the ride on one of the most talented and experienced team horses in America. This development makes Phillip and Mr. Medicott almost certain shoo-ins for Normandy next year assuming their partnership forms well. This is also a major win for syndicates, and we have to give a huge shoutout to the new owners, the existing owners who stuck with the syndicate, and Mark Hart and the Event Owners Task Force for working to keep Mr. Medicott in the States. Finally, Mr. Medicott’s new syndicate is a big win for U.S. eventing. With horses like this on U.S. teams, the future looks bright indeed. Go Phillip. Go Cave. Go eventing.