Two-time Olympic gold medalist Phillip Dutton claimed the $20,000 Mad Barn Indoor Eventing Challenge in a thrilling night of competition on Saturday, November 4, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
Having won Friday night’s first round of competition, Dutton, a six-time Olympian, was last to contest Saturday’s deciding second round riding Quasi Cool. He thrilled the packed house once more with an electric performance and clear effort to take the championship title.
“It was an incredible crowd,” enthused Dutton, 60, who is based out of his True Prospect Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania. “It was a full house, and it’s fun to show off our sport in a major city like this. We spent the day looking at the cows, sheep, and pigs, and it’s just really a lot of fun to be here. We even met Royal Ambassador Kay, so it was a great day.”
While Friday’s course certainly tested the athletes, Saturday’s track designed by Captain Mark Phillips of Great Britain proved to be even more demanding. Competitors raced back and forth across the arena over a combination of show jumping and cross-country obstacles, negotiating several tricky lines as they took chances and made tight turns in an effort to produce the fastest clear time. Just three combinations managed a fault-free ride, but it was Dutton’s double-clear across the two days of competition and a combined time of 181.41 seconds that reigned supreme.