Thermal, Calif. – Nov. 2018 – Friday afternoon featured the first of three FEI CSI3* classes at National Sunshine I in Thermal, California. The mountains surrounding the AON HITS Desert Horse Park were a beautiful backdrop for the 73 competitors that challenged the first-round course.
The field was stacked with top international riders, many of whom who will stay for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Thermal CSI3*-W during National Sunshine II.
Amongst the field of high performance riders were Mandy Porter and Will Simpson representing the United States, Nayel Nassar of Egypt, Kevin Babington of Ireland, Ashlee Bond representing Israel, and Eric Navet of France.
A total of 21 competitors jumped clear in the first round of the $35,000 Coachella Welcome Stake and would return for the jump-off.
Taking home the blue ribbon, trophy, customized Horze cooler, and a pair of Professional’s Choice front boots was Nayel Nassar and Lordan. The team representing their home country of Egypt soared through the timers in 41.37. “I was really happy with him, honestly he felt unbelievable. He really didn’t feel like he was close to touching any fences,” said Nassar. “It was a long jump off with a lot of horses in it, I just wanted to be smooth and efficient.”
Nassar and Lordan are no strangers to the winner’s circle here at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park. During the HITS Coachella Winter Circuit this past winter, they were crowned champions of the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Thermal and a few weeks later champions of the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix.
“I don’t really know what’s left to say [about Lordan],” continued Nassar. “I have had him for so long, It’s just a strong partnership and he’s such a good horse that I’m just trying to get as many years as I can out of him.” This is a duo to watch for at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park in the Grand Prix this Sunday and during next week’s FEI CSI3*-W competition.
Taking home the red ribbon was Kevin Babington aboard Mark Q, Babington would cross the timers in 41.84 to secure second place, less than a half of a second behind Nassar.
In third was Karrie Rufer and Mai Tai 2, the last team to jump-off, coming home clear in a time of 42.38. Rufer would also pick up the fourth place ribbon aboard Georgie d’Auvray EC in a time of 42.54.
Wilhelm Genn would take home the fifth place ribbon aboard Bugatti in a time of 43.70.
Mariano Maggi and Quintago VA would be awarded the sixth place ribbon for their efforts, finishing in a time of 44.32.
Seventh place was awarded to Taylor Siebel and Evidence for their fault free jump-off in 44.84.
Rounding out the double clear rounds would be Mathis Schwentker taking the reins aboard NKH Carrido to jump-off in a time of 45.27 for an eighth place finish.
Riders return to the Grand Prix Stadium Sunday at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park for the second of three FEI classes at National Sunshine I.