Del Mar, CA – A field of thirty top notch competitors brought their A-game on Saturday afternoon for the final competition of the FEI CSI2*, the $75,000 1.45m Gold Tour Grand Prix, at the Showpark Ranch & Coast Classic. Eight horse and rider combinations returned to ride against the clock in the jump-off, and last to go proved best when Keri Potter (USA) and Melanie Brooks’ eight-year-old Westphalian gelding, Jiminy Cricket, went double clean and fast to earn their first Grand Prix win.
A true test for the talent who competed in this FEI 2* event, the Ken Krome designed course, included a triple bar, a triple combination, a double combination, bending lines, and rollbacks spanning the Grand Prix field.
The first to complete the track without a fault was the seventh to go, Rich Fellers and his own Lux Lady. Of the next twenty-three riders who galloped in, these seven – Nick Gegen aboard Neaulani Farms’ Arc de Triomphe, Will Simpson aboard his own Chacco P, Carly Anthony and Neil Jones Equestrian, Inc.’s Chacco, Richard Spooner riding Thank God Investments, LLC’s Arthos R, Everardo Hegewisch and his own horse, Ircos IV, and the last to go, Potter and Jiminy Cricket – joined Fellers in the jump-off.
First to go in the timed round, Fellers and Lux Lady set the bar high going clean and fast in 41.68 seconds. Faults plagued the next two horse and rider combinations, but Anthony and Chacco were up for the challenge, leaving the jumps up in 41.15 seconds to narrowly take over the top spot. Next up was Spooner, who blazed around the shortened track in 38.57 seconds, but an unfortunate four faults kept that speed from taking the lead.
Last to go, Potter piloted Jiminy Cricket around the jump-off on a tidy track, and crossed the timers in 40.83 seconds to bring home their first Grand Prix victory.
This duo is not new to the winner’s circle, however. Potter has been Jiminy Cricket’s jockey since she broke him as a young horse, and she has successfully taken him through the Young Jumper ranks. The pair claimed a win in the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships last September, a sixth-place finish in the Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships the year before, and a close second place finish in the Five-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships in 2016.
As Potter explains in the video, Jiminy Cricket is a catty type, naturally fast and quick to turn, so she wanted to ride the jump-off efficiently but not too aggressively. Taking this first 1.45m grand prix in stride, this pair has a bright future!
Picking up third place in the class, Rich Fellers jumped into the lead for the title of FEI Gold Tour Leading Rider Award. Generously sponsored by Club Hipico La Silla, Fellers will be given an opportunity to experience Monterrey, Mexico, in style, when Club Hípico La Silla hosts two fall CSI3* events, Oct. 30–Nov. 3 & Nov. 6–10, 2019. He was awarded $5,000 towards travel expenses, complimentary lodging and one complimentary stall, and free entries for one horse at both shows. Felicidades!