World of Showjumping
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Nayel Nassar is crowned champion in $221,600CAD Visit Greater Palm Springs CSI5* Grand Prix

Saturday, 09 December 2023
CSI5*/2* Desert International Horse Park 2023

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Coronado. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.


Press release from Desert International Horse Park



Nayel Nassar (EGY) had to wait for a win during Desert Holiday, but a win finally came his way on Friday night of Desert Holiday 2, presented by Visit Greater Palm Springs. Aboard Coronado, owned by Evergate Stables LLC, Nassar rode to the win in the $221,600CAD Visit Greater Palm Springs CSI5* Grand Prix, bringing home the victory he had been waiting for.

Over Peter Grant’s (CAN) course, Nassar was one of 10 to jump clear in the first round. Coming back in a promising position, Nassar was the first to really bring the speed up a notch over the short course, and he left the remaining few pairs to try to catch him, which none could ultimately do. Only Amy Millar (CAN) and Truman (Mylord Carthago*HN x Kolibri, breeder Aurore Merel), owned by Millar Brooke Farm & Overland, came close, taking second place. Shawn Casady (USA) landed in third on the podium with Cool Quarz (Quarz x San Patrignano Cassini, breeder Gundula Henningsen), owned by Morning Star Sporthorses.

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Nayel Nassar (EGY) topped the podium. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.

“He’s been incredible this year; he’s won three grand prixs,” Nassar said of his partner, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini x Accord, breeder Karl-Heinz Markussen). “I’ve had him for two and a half years now but it feels like longer. He’s just such a trier and he’s totally an adrenaline junkie. My wife likes to ride him at home and you would never guess that he’s got that sort of energy when you watch him flat around. He just knows when it’s time to shine and just has all the attributes of a superstar show jumper.”

Coronado showed off his superstar qualities under the lights in the Grand Prix Arena, turning tightly and staying ultra careful as Nassar steered him into the lead. The horse was particularly careful through the double combination in the jump-off, the second to last element of the short course.

“That was actually part of the course that I wasn’t supposed to take any risks but I felt like I was really conservative the whole way around,” Nassar said of his strategy turning tightly back to the one-stride combination. “He’s an amazing combination jumper so I knew I could turn up to that. I tried to push a little wider but also keep my rhythm and it worked out.”

Photo © High Desert Sport Photo. Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Coronado. Photo © High Desert Sport Photo.

Nassar knew the time was beatable when he stepped foot in the ring, but he also knew it wasn’t over after his round, so he had to be quick enough to prevent others from catching him.

“I have to say when I went in there wasn’t a fast round that had been laid down yet so I tried to be relatively conservative but still be efficient enough for the people after me to have to take some risks,” he explained of his jump-off approach. “My horse is naturally quick, and the jump-off actually suited him with long gallops and a couple of turns. I thought I nailed that turn to the double, that was probably the place where I took some risks that some other people weren’t able to take.”

Returning to DIHP is like coming home for Nassar, who spent quite a while in California and competed at the park when he was in school at Stanford.

“I really love this horse park,” he remarked of DIHP. “I spent a lot of time here when I was in college and after. It does feel like home. It’s always great to come back to the West Coast and see all the familiar faces. This is a special win for us. It’s the end of the season, and it’s been a long year. To get this kind of win towards the end is super rewarding.”

The week isn’t over for Nassar, though. Saturday night is the $571,000 CSI5* Major League Show Jumping Team Competition, and his team, the Trelawny Trailblazers, sit in the lead, just one win away from potentially winning it all for the 2023 season. Nassar will certainly use the confidence to carry him into the team final, along with his other teammates, who are hungry to bring it home.

“Winning is the best confidence booster so I’m just looking forward to a good team class tomorrow. We’ll try to wrap up our season the way we started it. I’m excited,” he concluded.

Saturday features back-to-back FEI classes, with the $76,000CAD MeadowGrove Farm CSI2* Grand Prix, followed by the $571,000 CSI5* Major League Show Jumping Team Competition under the lights.


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