The Desert International Horse Park celebrated the end of the eight week Desert Circuit with a grand finale of the $250,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI4* 1.55m, drawing top grand prix riders for the event. It was Nicky Galligan (IRL) and Javas Miss Jordan, who’s luck of the Irish, galloped them into the final victory of the circuit.
Thirty-two horse and rider combinations took a swing at the Marina Azevedo (BRA) designed track for a chance at a big payday. Richard Spooner aboard Quirado RC, was the first to go clean going eleventh in the order. Galligan went right after Spooner, laying down another clear round. The remainder of the class tried their best, leaving Spooner and Galligan with the only two clear rounds to head to the jump off.
Spooner returned first setting the pace with a tight track and clear round with a time of 45.70.
“With a top rider and a quick horse like that behind you, you just try to go out and stay in the yellow, don’t get into the red, and put a little pressure on him and hope that maybe he’ll make a mistake,” said Spooner about going first in the jump off.
Galligan put the pedal to the metal, stopping the clock at 41.15 with a fault free round for the win. For his victory, Galligan received a six month lease on an Stephex Van.
“I was thinking, have fun today, [it’s a] two horse jump off,” explained Galligan. “I have a friend that always says to me, I want to be proud of you and I want to see you win trying to win rather than to lose trying to win. So when you have that chance, you just go for it. Richard [Spooner] had an amazing track in front of me, his line was so tight on his track, but mine is quick across the ground, so once I could keep the rhythm and keep going, I trusted her to be quick enough.”
Nine four-faulters tried to be the fastest of the group with Olympian Will Simpson and Chacco P showing how it’s done, claiming third place as the fastest four faulter.
“I’m so glad I wasn’t in the jump off,” laughed Simpson. “I was third anyway! It was an honor to be here with this caliber of riders, the quality of the course was incredible, the feel, the footing, the whole atmosphere of the place has been phenomenal the whole eight weeks. My horse has just gotten better and better every week and that’s a testimony to the place and the management and I’d like to congratulate them on doing a great job.”
source: Press Release