Will Simpson took one more HITS Desert Circuit Grand Prix win Sunday afternoon, on Monarch International’s Katie Riddle in the $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. This is Simpson’s sixth Grand Prix win so far at HITS Thermal. Simpson topped a field of 41 riders – including eight others who made it to the jump-off – going double-clear and completing the second round in 43.203 seconds to claim the victory at HITS Desert Horse Park.
“This was Katie Riddle’s birthday present to Jami Heidegger,” Simpson said. The Heidegger family owns Monarch International, for whom Simpson rides. “It was her (Jami’s) birthday yesterday. We were going to show The Dude (also owned by Monarch) last night (in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix CSI-W2*, presented by OSPHOS®) but it was a little much for him, so we scratched him and decided we’d make it a special day for Jami here. And the whole team at Will Simpson Stables and Monarch are just in a real groove right now; everything is feeling groovy.”
In second place was Rich Fellers on Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Lux Lady, also going double-clear and finishing in 44.441 seconds. Third place went to Eduardo Menezes on Ilan Ferder’s Clear Me, with no faults and 44.897 seconds. Fourth place winner Keri Potter on Melanie Brook’s Paloma was the final double-clear round; she finished in 45.073 seconds.
Fellers said, “That was my first big class of the year with this particular mare. I was impressed when I walked the course.” He said of course designer Martin Otto, of Munster, Germany,” I thought he did a great job all week and set very legitimate specs in all the classes. This was a solid 1.50 meter course.”
Fellers was pleased with Lux Lady’s performance, though he said he’d had doubts that she was quite up for it. “For the first class of the year for this particular mare, it was quite an experience at this level. I thought, ‘It might be a little stretch, but it’s not going to hurt her, she’s tough. She great. She’s Irish – she’s from Ireland,’” he said. “I was obviously delighted with her performance.”
Simpson also commented on fellow Monarch International rider Hannah Heidegger. The 17-year-old went clear in Round 1 on Monarch’s Axl Rose, and caught only the last rail in the jump-off to place seventh. “She’s riding incredibly; she had one rail down,” he said. “She’s got the guts and determination and work ethic.”
Simpson and Fellers said they both plan to return to HITS Desert Horse Park after this coming off-week, where riders and their horses will get a chance to rest up before competition resumes for another four weeks.
Source: Press release from HITS Media Team
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