Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and Double H Farm's HH Palouchin led the way from start to finish in Friday afternoon's $32,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic in Wellington. A Rolex FEI world ranking class, Pessoa and Palouchin beat out a field of 65 starters over Olaf Petersen Jr.'s timed first round course. The pair set the standard, first to go with their lightning fast time of 64.46 seconds, and would prove unbeatable. Seventeen of the 65 starters in today's 1.45m class completed Petersen's speed course without fault, but Pessoa's time set the mark high. No one was able to surpass him, and only a few came close.
Finishing in second place, Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Jane F. Clark's Whistler were over a second behind in 65.93 seconds. Reed Kessler (USA) and Onisha stopped the clock in 66.02 seconds to place third. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner's Zhivago completed the course in 68.34 seconds to earn the fourth place prize. Laura Kraut (USA) and Woodstock O, owned by Joan Kalman/The Freedom Group, finished fifth in 69.46 seconds.
HH Palouchin (formerly Palouchin De Ligny) is a homebred Belgian Warmblood gelding by Pessoa's famous mount Baloubet Du Rouet out of a Chin Chin mare. Showing under Pessoa his entire career, the gelding has been very successful. During the FTI WEF circuit this year the pair has had several victories, including a win in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m during week two and a win in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge during week four.
A late add in today's class, Pessoa was forced to take the starting position in the large class, but going first did not seem to matter. "I knew that I had a good shot in the class because the course suited him actually quite well," Pessoa stated after his win. "He felt good; I didn't expect to go like that wire to wire with the number of horses, but when you meet everything good with him, he is right there."
"He is difficult to beat. A couple got close, but he was really good. I kind of gave away the same class the other day with a silly mistake. I really tried extra hard to get this one to not give two away the same week," Pessoa said. "Over this height, if everything goes well, almost every time you go home with a ribbon."
HH Palouchin will possibly show in Sunday's 1.50m class depending on the course, and will definitely return next week for G&C Farm's CSIO week eight for more speed classes. Twelve years old, Palouchin has been a consistent partner for Pessoa and continues to win.
"He is the same; he doesn't calm down," Pessoa smiled. "You think that they are going to calm down, but he doesn't. He has a lot of blood and he is really determined to go. For him that is clearly the thing, but he is a great horse. Double H Farms and I, we are really lucky to have him in our string. It is always good for the morale to win classes and that is what he does best."
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