Fifty-four horses and riders will face off this week at Carolina International, which boasts the largest CIC3* field of any spring event in America. Ian Stark designs the big, bold, galloping cross country course in North Carolina, and Marc Donovan’s show jumping course on the grass always manages to shake up the leaderboard.
This is a talented field with a number of horses capable of stepping up to take the win, including multiple pairs preparing for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Here are four names to watch at Carolina International.
Rio Olympic bronze medalist Phillip Dutton is a surefire bet for a top-10 finish in any given event. He brings a strong string of four horses to Carolina, including the 2015 CIC3* winner I’m Sew Ready, along with Fernhill Fugitive, Mr. Candyman and Z. Phillip has won five CIC3* and Advanced events over the past two years with these four horses. We’ll be watching him closely.
Clark Montgomery and his Rio Olympic partner Loughan Glen already have one CIC3* win under their belts this season, taking first at Pine Top CIC3* last month in Georgia on a final score of 36.3. Glen is currently averaging 38.0 on the flat and is a strong contender to lead after the first phase as they make their first appearance at Carolina International.
Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda are CIC3* specialists, with a perfect cross country record in all 17 of their runs at the level. “Ping” returned to FEI competition earlier this month at Red Hills, finishing in second place in the CIC3*. They have only finished outside of the top 10 just once in all of their CIC3* starts. While they have never competed in this particular CIC3*, their form at the level proves they are ones to watch.
You can count on Buck Davidson and Copper Beach to push the time on Ian Stark’s cross country course. They typically run within 20 seconds of the optimum time at the CIC3* level, and they average 4.4 time penalties in this particular class. While “Sean” has two CCI3* wins to his name, he’s never won a CIC3*. Buck will be looking to put the pedal down this weekend.
EquiRatings is proud to supply the data for the live stream commentary on EQSportsNet. Tune in live as Carolina International’s broadcast starts tomorrow, March 22, at 10:30 a.m. EST/3:30 p.m. BST with dressage.