After the first phase, Bettina Hoy and Seigneur Medicott are likely to be duking it out for the top spot on the leaderboard with Jonelle Price and Cloud Dancer. Seigneur Medicott is averaging 32.9 in dressage this season and is coming off a personal best score of 31.0 at Aachen.
While Cloud Dancer’s dressage scores trended above his usual average with Tim Price in the irons this season, he will be re-united with Jonelle Price at Blair. Last season Jonelle and Cloud Dancer averaged a 34.7 in dressage at the level. A return to that form would put them well up the leaderboard after the first phase.
Seigneur Medicott and Cloud Dancer are the only two horses in the field that average in the 30s in dressage. Five other pairs in the field trend 45.0 or better in dressage: Shane Rose and CP Qualified, Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo, Maxime Livio and Pica d’Or, Paul Tapner and Kilronan, and green but mean Chris Burton and Polystar I.
SHOW JUMPING SPECIALISTS
Blyth Tait and Xanthus III and Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo are the strongest show jumping combinations in the field, both averaging above an 80% clear rate. It’s notable that Blyth and Xanthus have maintained that record over 13 rounds, which gives them a more extensive record than Oliver and Cillnabradden Evo’s five rounds. Both pairs are strong bets to leave all the poles in the cups.
Of the pairs in the field with more than one start at the level, just two more average better than a 50% clear show jumping rate. Gemma Tattersall and Santiago Bay have jumped clear in two of their three rounds at the level, with Maxime Livio and Pica d’Or jumping clear in three of their five rounds at the level. While Chris Burton and Polystar I have just one start at the level in their win at Barbury Castle, they delivered a clear show jumping round there.
CROSS COUNTRY SPEEDSTERS
Blair is stacked with both young talent and experienced upper-level horses, with five of them having completed 10 or more CIC3* events in their careers. Of those longtime partnerships, Paul Tapner and Kilronan boast the best cross country record, with a 92% clear rate in their 12 completions, no jumping penalties and an average of 6.8 time penalties.
Bill Levett and Shannondale Titan also boast a strong cross country record, with an 88% clear rate out of seven completions and an average of 7 time penalties. Shane Rose and CP Qualified are just a tick behind them, with an 86% clear rate in seven completions and an average of 5.6 time penalties.
Looking to pairs with less experience at the level but equally solid records across the country, watch for standout performances from Nicola Wilson and Bulana (5 completions, 83% clear rate, 12.2 time penalty average) and Gemma Tattersall and Santiago Bay (3 completions, 100% clear rate, 6.8 time penalty average.
While Chris Burton and Polystar I have only competed in one CIC3* together at Barbury Castle, they were one of four pairs to make the optimum time there and delivered the joint fastest round to win on their dressage score. Mirroring that performance at Blair would make them very tough to beat.