US Eventing team stalwart Phillip Dutton leads the Stable View CCI4*-S in both experience and placings as he and his World Equestrian and Olympic Games partner Z landed themselves in the overnight lead position after the first two phases.
On their morning dressage efforts, both judges — Vanda Stewart and Amanda Miller — shared similar opinions, both giving Phillip and Z the identical score of 71.88% for a penalty score of 28.1. Phillip gives thanks to dressage coach Tuny Page on that front, who he says has had him laser focused on maintaining a correct and effective position throughout the test.
“[Z is] getting so mature and professional about it all now and early in his career as dealing lot more with his tension and nervousness, whereas now he sort of understands a lot more the dressage. He kept his calm and kept thinking with me all the way through the test,” he said.
The 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z — Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z) will stay on his sub-30 score (the only one in remaining in the division) after a show jumping showdown of sorts that saw only four of the twenty-two competitors emerge double clear.
“He’s just a beautiful jumper and he’s pretty rideable now as well, and I’ve gotten to know what works best in the warm up for him,” he said. “I just try to keep the warm up as quiet and as easy and as relaxed as possible with lots of walking in between jumping and just lets him take a deep breath and doesn’t build up and build up and get more and more tense.”
Phillip admits he had the advantage of being sat on an excellent show jumper, but he still had plenty of work to do across Michel Villancourt’s show jumping track. “I thought it walked strong actually when I walked it. It’s quite square and it wasn’t very forgiving in the lines — you kind of had to stick to the numbers or else you paid a price. I think the Liverpool probably came down the most, and that required you to get really straight and square to it and again I think you’ve paid the price if you didn’t you didn’t do that,” he said.
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