December 2015 - Show Report: Galway Downs International Three Day Event
Written by Ann Haller
Saturday, 28 November 2015 04:39
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Phillip Dutton & Tamie Smith finish great seasons with more wins.

by Ann Haller • photos by Alicia Anthony

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.

Tamie Smith with a look of determination, riding Chatwin.

Philip Dutton waves to the crowd after his winning round with Fernhill Fugitive.

After an unanticipated clattering through a warm-up fence, Dutton (West Grove, PA) 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).

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 (Paris, KY) 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.

Tamie Smith hugs Frankie Thieriot Stutes after her win with Chatwin.

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive.

“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.

Marilyn Little and RF Overdressed.

Alexandra Knowles and Sound Prospect.

“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 (Murrieta, CA) 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.

Lauren Kieffer and Meadowbrook’s Scarlett.

Jonathan Holling & Kildalton Cooley

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, CA), 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.

Jennifer Kessler & King of Wilshire

Ashlyn Dorsey & RF Kinetic.

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, FL, 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.”

Gabriella Thompson on Smooth Sailin

Karen Keyser on Olympic Journey and Val Ferraro on No App for That in the warm-up ring

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, Bonner Carpenter (Dallas, TX) and Cele Carpenter’s Darkside were crowned champions with a clear show jumping round. Husband-and-wife team Kimberly Steinbuch and John Michael Durr (Castro Valley, CA) 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 (San Jose, CA) and her own Douglas Rock won the championship on a clear round, advancing from overnight third place. Haley Turner (Alamo, CA) and her own Orion’s Sweet Rubio dropped one position to second with a rail, while a delighted Christine Poulos (San Carlos, CA) and her own Cara Clover Princess advanced from a dressage placing of ninth to third overall with clear rounds in both the cross-country and show jumping.

Generous Sponsors

Peggy Moore on Lincoln

Galway Downs recognizes the contributions of its many generous sponsors, and would like to thank them for supporting this important world-class competition.
CWD, Devoucoux, Equine Insurance of California, California Horsetrader, and the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) Tour are the Presenting Sponsors of the 2015 Galway Downs International Three-Day Event.

The Gold Medal Sponsors are: Equinox Equestrian Center, Ian Stark Equestrian Centre, MD BarnMaster, Professional’s Choice, and Sunsprite Warmbloods.

The Silver Medal Sponsors are: Charles Owen, Freedom RV Rentals, La Quinta Inn and Suites - Temecula, Smartpak and Temecula Creek Inn.

The Bronze Medal Sponsors are: Auburn Laboratories Inc., American Horse Trials Foundation, Elk Grove Milling, Finish Line Equestrian Products, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Geranium Street Floral, Ice Horse, California Riding Magazine, Ride On Video, San Luis Rey Equine Hospital, Shires Equestrian Products, Symons Ambulance Service, Triple Crown Feed and Voltaire Design.

The Friend Sponsors are: Copper Meadows Eventing, Eventing Training Online, and RevitaVet Therapeutic Systems.
Patron Level Sponsors include Majyk Equipe.

For results of the Young Event Horse Championships, West, held at Galway Downs the same week, see story, page 78. For complete results, visit