Thermal, CA (March 10, 2016): Week VII of the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California, kicked off an exciting week of big money opportunities for jumpers with the $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome.
Rich Fellers took home another win at HITS Desert Circuit, this time riding a new horse for Fellers, Coupis, owned by Leslie Nelson. Fellers topped the leaderboard in Wednesday’s $5,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome with a double clear round in a fast time of 40.649 seconds. Canadian course designer Danny Foster, put riders to the test building a lengthy and technical course set at 1.45 meters.
Nine successfully jumped clean in the first round to advance to the immediate jump-off. Only five of the nine riders would go clear over the shortened course. The jump-off came down to who could master the tight roll back turns and gallop the fastest.
First to jump clean was Jaclyn Duff of Edmonton, Alberta, riding EH All or None owned by Windermere Stables LTD. The pair galloped the length of the arena, clearing the jump-off fences easily, taking a majority of the inside turns, and crossing the timers with a clear round in 46.508 seconds, which would be good enough for fourth-place spot.
Following Duff was Rich Fellers aboard Coupis. Fellers galloped into the HITS Grand Prix Stadium on his new mount with confidence. Performing all the inside turns and roll-backs without missing a beat, Fellers and Coupis sped through the timers with a clear round in 40.649, shaving 6 seconds off Duff’s time. No one would catch that time, and Fellers was still at the top of the leaderboard by the end of the class.
Susan Hutchison was next into the field riding Brisbane, owned by Barbara Phillips of Woodside, California. Hutchison is no stranger to going fast and she flew around the jump-off with her eye on the prize, taking all possible inside turns and blazing across the finish markers with a clear round in a time of 44.070 seconds. Not fast enough to catch Fellers, the time would be good enough for a third-place finish.
At the in-gate waiting her turn was Mandy Porter of Encinitas, California, riding Ace of Hearts, owned by Little Valley Farms of Hidden Hills, California. Porter knew she needed to take every possible inside turn to take over the lead from Fellers. Porter and Ace of Hearts were on their ‘A’ game, as they laid down a clear round in a blazing time of 41.531. Again, it was not enough to grab the win from Fellers, but it landed her the second-place prize for the day.
Last into the arena was Will Simpson riding Portena, owned by Antonio Maurer of Mexico. As this was a new mount for Simpson, he took his time in the jump-off opting for only two of the possible three inside turns. They performed the jump-off beautifully as they crossed the timers in 46.618 seconds taking home the fifth-place prize.