Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany designed a 1.35m course with options to leave out strides, take inside turns and also included one challenging tight rollback. Of the 14 obstacles, nearly half the class found faults either at fence 7, a skinny vertical placed in the corner that could be ridden in 5 or 6 strides, or after the rollback at fence 10, a grey vertical sitting perpendicular to the in-gate.
"I thought it was a really nice course that Olaf built," commented Heineking. "There were 12 clean, out of 57 horses, so it was the right number. It caught a lot of people who had rails somewhere because they tried to go a little too fast."
Twelfth in the ring, world-renowned Frenchman Eric Navet and ASB Conquistador (Signe Ostby, owner) set the tone for speed with a textbook round. Smooth and deceivingly fast, the pair covered the ground gracefully and finished with no faults in a time of 55.11. Navet held the lead without challenge until the thirty-seventh horse galloped into the ring, Heineking aboard NKH Selena.
Determined, Heineking went for broke, taking risks in order to take over the lead. After a daring ride that stopped the clock in 53.95, he successfully stole the top spot from Navet who finished second.
"Selena is a very fast horse to begin with, and she's experienced. Over this size, she is very comfortable and pretty quick," Heineking said of his winning mount.
On a roll, Heineking picked up third with his other mount, AJE Cluny (owned by AJE Equitation LLC) in a time of 55.98. Not a stranger to the dash for cash, Heineking sped to second place on AJE Cluny in Thursday night's $35,000 Las Vegas FEI Welcome Speed Classic, presented by Park Place Foundation.
Heineking will also compete aboard NKH Quanto in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortgage, this evening.