It was British domination on cross country day of the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event with Tom McEwan holding his lead, Yasmin Ingham defending her second place, and Oliver Townend moving up into third.

But the Defender USEF National Championship title is currently in the possession of a name sitting in fifth that is becoming more and more familiar at the very top levels of U.S. eventing and now globally: Mia Farley with her trusty $1 Thoroughbred Phelps.

In her second ever five star, Farley and the 11-year-old Phelps went double clear, one of only two riders to do so today (Germany’s Christopher Wahler and D’Accord FRH were the second). Equiratings ran the numbers and out of over 1000 horses, only 37 have gone double clear in their first two five-star events.  

New Zealand’s Monica Spencer with Artist (0.8 time penalties added) and Farley and Phelps sit in fourth and fifth respectively on the only full Thoroughbreds in the top ten. Farley felt the blood of the Thoroughbred was in her favor today:

“With Phelps and a lot of Thoroughbreds, you set the tone in the beginning of the course, and that’s what they have for the rest of it. What I found that’s really cool is that at the end of the course, if you ask them to go, they have it…you [have] options at the end. So I think the Thoroughbred blood plays a lot into that.”

The eyes on Farley added to the pressure to deliver today after the success of her five star debut in the Maryland 5* in October so nerves were a bit high coming into the cross country. But some of the biggest cheers of the day were for the partnership as they came by.

“I came here and it was a little bit more nerve wracking than Maryland because I knew that I could do it. It was just up to me to give him the ride that he needed. So it’s very fun to have a lot of support.”

At the end of the day, the love of the sport is what draws riders back over and over. Farley is no different. “I came to have fun and I did. So did Phelps.”

Farley’s chances of a top 3 finish rest at 5% after cross country, according to the Equiratings Prediction Centre. But a top 10 finish? It’s a 49% chance.

For the British contingent made up of Olympic medalists and world champions, Equiratings predict 65-88% for a top 3 finish for the three riders at the top and a 96% top 10 finish. Tom McEwan’s chances of a win though are coming up to 79%.

When asked about the decision to come to Kentucky instead of Badminton in two weeks, the three Brits were in agreement.

“The American crowd are definitely a more enthusiastic bunch than what we’re used to, which is a brilliant thing and a great experience for the horses.” Oliver Townend said. “As Tom and Yasmin have said already, for us guys to be in that stadium is special, which is why we keep coming back as often as we possibly can.”

Farley laughed when asked about how the crowds affected her ride with Phelps. “Today, I think he enjoyed seeing the colors fly by.”

Five star horse inspection begins at 8:50 am EST and first horse enters the ring at 2:15 pm where the Defender Kentucky Three Day Event champion will be crowned.