Thermal, Calif. – Mar. 6, 2018 – Off to a good start at HITS Coachella Desert Circuit VI in the Grand Prix Ring was Richard Spooner and Zuidhoeve who took home the win in the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome. Spooner crossed the finish line in a time of 38.736. Winning the red ribbon in a time of 38.996 was Ashlee Bond aboard Donatello 141, followed by Tayah Sobie and Brise CR taking third in 39.035. Fourth place honors were awarded to Serena Anand and Brandee in a time of 39.140. Rounding out the top five in a time of 39.403 were John Pearce and his four-legged partner Chantico.
Less than 2 seconds separated the top five placings in the $30,000 SmartPak Open Prix which proves how competitive the field was. Spooner took home the blue ribbon again on Friday; this time aboard Chatinus in a time of 37.698. Eric Navet took home both the second and fourth place ribbons aboard Basimodo and Catypso, respectively. Navet would receive times of 38.111 and 38.951 in his jump-off rounds. Bond, aboard Dollar Girl for the Prix, would claim the yellow ribbon in a time of 38.861. Karl Cook and Caillou 24 would cross the finish line in a time of 39.605 which would be good enough for fifth place.
In the $10,000 Electronic Vet 1.35m Jumper Classic, Leslie Wright and Karo would take the lead in a time of 33.944, followed by Austin Krawitt and High Jack in second with a time of 36.937. Third place was won by Matt Archer aboard Giamont with a jump-off time of 37.328. Less than one second behind Archer was Cook aboard Menelik with a time of 38.443. Rounding out the top five in the class was John Perez and Chianti Classico, the fastest of the four-fault riders in round one.
It’s safe to say that on Sunday morning the best was saved for last. The last team to compete in the $15,000 KindredBio 1.40m Jumper Classic, Michelle Parker and Cupilor, would take home top honors in a time of 31.098. Second place was won by Perez aboard Utopia in a time of 32.610, followed by Mattias Ekeroth and Dacarlos coming in third with a time of 32.742. Tina Yates and Cicomein VDL would take home the fourth place ribbon in a time of 33.125, and rounding out the top five in the class was Natasha Traurig and Tenesse Rouge with a time of 34.137.
A field of 48 joined us on Sunday afternoon for the $70,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix. It was another competitive e class with less than four seconds would separate the top five riders in the Grand Prix. Taking home the top honors in a time of 39.266 was Cook aboard the 11 year-old Holsteiner gelding, Caillou 24. “He’s very sensitive so it has taken him a long time to get to this level,” said Cook. “We have been doing the bigger grand prix on and off for the past two years. We’ll move him up and then move him back down, but so far this year he has been very confident and consistent so hopefully this will be the first year we can stay [at this level].”
Following close behind Cook was Navet aboard Catypso, taking home the red ribbon in a time of 39.551. Ali Ramsay and Hermelien VD Hooghoeve rode away with the third place ribbon in a time of 40.913, followed by Yates and Zelote VDL in a time of 41.218. Jenni McAllister and Sweet Chocolate PJ rounded out the top five, taking home the fifth place ribbon in a time of 42.636.
Riders also had their chance in the spotlight over at the Hunter Rings in the $5,000 Devooucoux Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, which are both qualifier classes for the HITS Championship.
Rising to the top of the standings in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was Jenny Karazissis and Big Shot with a score of 88 in Round One and a score of 86 in Round Two for a combined score of 174. Dustin Goodwin and Know-How would be awarded second place honors with a first round score of 87 and a second round score of 86 for a two-round total of 173. Rounding out the top three placings in the class was Nick Haness and Afterglow with a score of 86 in each of his rounds for a combined score of 172.
In the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, Anne Marie Mueller and Athabasca have gone two for two in the second half of the circuit, winning both weeks so far. Receiving scores of 81 and 85 in her two rounds for an overall score of 166. Second place was awarded to Marielle Fries and Penumbra with a score of 83 in Round One and 82 in Round Two for a two-round total of 165. Rounding out the top three in the Hunter Prix was Denise Tidman and Cool Casscord with a first round score of 79 and a second round score of 84 for a combined 163.
With just two weeks left of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit, riders are looking to qualify for the HITS Championship that will take place in September in Saugerties, New York, and the AIG Million here at the HITS Desert Horse Park. We are also looking forward to crowning our EQUO Riding Apparel Second-Half Circuit Champions and the Horseware Ireland Overall Grand Circuit Champions.