Try to Catch this Team: Richard Fellers and Steelbi Chase the Blue
Written by CRM
Saturday, 10 November 2018 00:00

The FEI CSI3*-W week at National Sunshine II kicked off Thursday with the $35,000 Desert Welcome Stake, in the Grand Prix Stadium, for the first leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Qualifier. Surrounded by mountainous views, top riders from across the country and around the world challenged the first-round course, designed by Marina Azevedo.

Amongst the field of 77 entries in the hunt for the lion’s share of prize money were Richard Spooner, Charlie Jayne, and Jamie Barge, along with last week’s FEI class winners Nayel Nasser and Ashlee Bond.

The first leg of the FEI CSI3*-W was held as a speed class, with the fastest clear round taking home the blue ribbon.

Richard Fellers, 2012 World Cup Finals Champion, and STEELBI taking home top honors, completing the course in a lightning fast time of 59.94. “I’m just super happy for her and the owner,” Fellers exclaimed. “I’m proud of the horse. She is an up-and-coming mare." Fellers took home a customized cooler, winner’s trophy, and Professional’s Choice Bell Boots for his win today.

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Fellers explained that this is STEELBI’s first year doing FEI classes, but he has faith that she will excel. "She had a pole last week in the first class and two poles down in the second class, which was her first 1.50m, and I thought 'Okay, I bet she’ll come back fighting after that,' and she did she didn’t let me down,” said Fellers. They will be competing in the $40,200 Desert Classic tomorrow and are a team to look out for.

Taking home the red ribbon, just four one-hundredths of a second behind, was Kristen VanderVeen and BULL RUN’S PRINCE OF PEACE in a time of 59.98.

In third place was Kevin Babington and SUPER CHILLED, crossing the timers in 61.09.

With an early spot in the order, just the second in the ring, Richard Spooner and QUIRADO RC's time of 62.44 put the pressure on the field early in the class. Their time would hold up for thr fouth place ribbon.

Fifth place was awarded to MAI TAI 2 and Karrie Rufer, soaring across the finish line in a time of 62.59, with Karl Cook and CAILLOU 24 just a tenth behind in 62.73 for sixth.

A time of 62.87 would be good enough for a seventh place finish for the team of Alex Granato and CARLCHEN W, while Nayel Nassar and LORDAN, winners of the $35,000 Coachella Welcome Stake FEI CSI3* at National Sunshine I, would take home eighth place in a time of 63.36.

The ninth place ribbon was won by John Pearce and FIRESTONE S, galloping through the timers in 64.27, and rounding out the top ten was Ashlee Bond, winner of both the $40,200 Coachella Classic and $100,000 Coachella Grand Prix last week at National Sunshine I,  aboard COLOUR YOUR LIFE in a time of 65.42.

The $35,000 Desert Welcome Stake also served as the qualifying class for the $100,000 FEI Longines Jumping World CupTM qualifying class on Saturday, with 40 riders eligible to return.
Don't miss out as the excitement continues at National Sunshine II with the $40,200 Desert Classic FEI CSI3*-W! Stay tuned this week and catch all the action as the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM Qualifier takes place this Saturday, November 10. Stay up to date with all of the upcoming HITS events via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and HitsShows.com.

Press release provided by HITS Horse Shows. All Photography is Courtesy of ESI Photography