Will Simpson won the $50,000 Horze Equestrian Grand Prix at HITS Desert Horse Park – trumping 35 other horse and riders – and now stands at four Grand Prix wins in row, just two weeks into this year’s HITS Desert Circuit.
Nine made it to the jump-off Sunday. Simpson placed first on The Dude with no faults in a time of 39.002, to win $15,000. “The Dude really wants to do this,” said Simpson. “I’ll start giving him some time off now and letting him relax a bit, then do this all again. It’s unbelievable competition. The footing is really good, and the horses are all jumping great after an easy winter break.”
Second place rider Karl Cook, who clocked in at 39.355 seconds with no faults to win $11,000, said of riding Tembla for his mother, Signe Ostby. “This is only the third Grand Prix Tembla and I have done together, so it’s nice to get a good prize. As I have gotten to know him, I have changed a few things and it’s paid off. The course wasn’t too difficult but it was long and the jump-off had some quick turns, and then open gallops, which caught some. This was not only a fun class to participate in; it was also great to watch.”
Rider Jaclyn Duff, who came in third on her own Pater Noster with no faults and a jump-off time of 41.991, has a goal. “I really want to catch Will one of these days in these classes, this circuit. Just being in a class with him and watching him ride makes me ride better. I’m only off-speed by a couple of feet, but so far that has given him the edge,” she said.
Oscar Soberon, of Monterrey, Mexico, designed the course. “Oscar is very thoughtful and precise,” said Jaclyn’s trainer and fellow rider Jill Henselwood. Of Soberon’s decision to use the solid blue wall to add a different look to the ring, “It did its part in the class for sure,” she said.
In fourth was Allyssa Hecht on Calero, with no faults and a time of 43.135. Fifth and sixth place winner Eduardo Menezes, on La Fleur and Quintol Mercedes Benz, bested Simpson’s time each go, at 38.046 and 38.923, but downed rails, adding four faults to each of those scores. Simpson’s other horse, Katie Riddle, came in at 39.090, behind only Simpson’s first place time, but four faults put that pair in seventh place.
Source: Press release from HITS.
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