Fellers HITS ‘Cruise’ ControlBy Staff Report February 3, 2012
Rich Fellers got off to a great start on the HITS Desert Circuit, winning the $32,000 HITS Desert Classic on Colgan Cruise, the youngest of three grand prix horses he brought to Thermal.
“She is a young, up-and-coming grand prix horse and I wasn’t expecting much before the circuit started, but I guess I was fooled,” Fellers said of the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare’s Feb. 2 performance. “It was my first grand prix class of 2012 and it’s nice to come out on top.” Colgan Cruise is a half-sister to Fellers’ superstar gelding Flexible, who has taken Rich to several World Cup Finals.
“We’ve had her since she was six, and have been bringing her along,” said Fellers’ wife, Shelley, who is competing at Thermal on Revenge, a 10-year-old gelding she has owned for two years and is debuting at the upper levels. They wound up 11th in a field of 22 starters. “We jumped clear with a time fault. I also did the Sunday grand prix and had two down. He was great, we each made a mistake. I am doing the level seven in the indoor today and depending on how that goes, I might do the World Cup qualifier Saturday night.”
The Desert Classic was the first of eight FEI classes offered at HITS ― four Thursday night “kick-offs” and four World Cup qualifiers. “I have three different grand prix horses for each of the big classes, and that’s kind of nice,” Fellers said after Thursday’s victory on the grass field. “I will be showing Flexible on Saturday night and McGuiness on Sunday.”
The Oregon-based rider owns the horses with his longtime sponsors Harry and Molly Chapman.
Colgan Cruise was one of nine among 22 Desert Classic starters to advance to the jump-off on Portuguese designer Bernardo Cabral’s 12-effort course. “It was a nice technical course and just right for the first FEI grand prix,” Fellers said.
After four tries in the jump off, Fellers posted the first clear in a zippy 44.48 seconds. Sitting pretty through the remainder of the outings, he appeared to have a challenge in Michelle Spadone of Lake Worth, FL, who challenged with Redfield Farm’s Coco was able to master the course, but couldn’t find the speed. Her time of 51.79 seconds clinched second place.
Mark Watring of Thousand Oaks, CA, was first out in the jump-off and seemed hell-bent for blue, but a heartbreaking rail at the last fence forced him to settle for third with a time of 43.65, the fastest of the four-faulters, on Green Sleeps Vioco.
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