Fresh off a fantastic tour at the HITS Desert Circuit, Canadian high-performance rider Elizabeth Gingras scored an impressive triumph aboard B Gingras Equestrian’s Floreen SFN in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, to cap a solid week for the maple-leaf nation during the Commonwealth National. “Lizzie has a tremendous work ethic,” said trainer Jill Henselwood. “She is always trying to improve and get better. I believe that she is on the verge of becoming a force to be reckoned with wherever she competes.”
Gingras and Floreen SFN were the top performers on a course set by fellow Canadian Danny Foster. The 13-obstacle track set in HITS Culpeper’s Grand Prix Arena featured 18 starters. In the opening round, the winning combination were fourth in the order and posted the first fault-free ride. “Today’s winner was very well prepared for this type of course,” said Foster. “I look forward to seeing what they can do down the road.” Five trips after Gingras set the pace, Callan Solem of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, assured the crowd that a jump-off would take place when she secured a spot on the short course with a clear ride aboard the Torlando Groups’ VDL Torlando.
At the conclusion of round one, seven horse-and-rider combinations advanced to the jump-off. Gingras and Floreen SFN’s wasted no time establishing the Great American Time to Beat when they jumped clear in 36.64 seconds. “I have a great team supporting me,” said Gingras. “Jill had me ready for today and I am thrilled to walk away with a victory. This was the first time that we had competed at a horse show since HITS Thermal and I hope this is an indication of good things to come this season.”
Solem and her second mount, Horse Trail Farm’s Magic Cruise, were fast and clean in the jump-off, coming home in 40.46 seconds to secure the red ribbon. She and VDL Torlando crossed the timers in 40.66 seconds for third. Riding under the Australian Flag, Thaisa Erwin jumped Foster’s track in 42.79 seconds with his own Matilda to land them in fourth. Rounding out the top five was Sulu Rose-Reed of Manikin Sabot, Virginia aboard Lisa Striplin’s Envy. The pair produced a fault-free ride in 43.223 seconds.
HITS grand prix competition will continue at HITS-on-the-Hudson May 22 and will return to Culpeper, Virginia the first week in July for the Showday National. Throughout the spring and summer circuits in New York and Virginia, jumper riders will continue to ride for qualifying leverage in the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix Rider Standings for a chance to compete in the historic class this fall.
Source: Press release from the HITS Media Team
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