Thermal, Calif. – Nov. 3, 2021 – The Grand Prix Stadium at the Desert International Horse Park hosted athletes for the start of the 2021-2022 show season as the first week of the National Sunshine Series got underway on Wednesday. The highlight event of the day was the $2,500 Welcome Speed, sponsored by SmartPak. Thirty-five horse and rider combinations sped around the track, and at the end of the day it was France’s Eric Navet and Coronado Blue NF who led the lap of honor.
Ireland’s Alan Wade set a 12-obstacle track, which featured a careful vertical-vertical combination and an oxer-vertical double combination, to test each combination’s hoof speed. With 16 fault-free efforts, athletes had to go all out to land at the top of the leaderboard.
Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) was the first to slide through the timers in less than 62 seconds, piloting Ariana to a fault-free effort in 61.97 seconds for the HKC Collection to set the early time to beat. It did not hold up for long as Navet and Signe Ostby’s Coronado Blue NF took their turn over the track. Slicing fences and making up time through each turn, the pair blazed across the finish line in an uncatchable 57.883 seconds.
Shawn Casady tried to catch Navet next with Tiffany Sullivan’s Cortechico, and while they were fault-free over the track, their time of 60.301 seconds would only be good enough for third. Last to take on the track, Mark Kinsella (IRL) almost caught Navet by leaving a stride out to the final fence with Valhalla Equestrian’s KBS Kiwi, but they were just two-tenths of a second shy of Navet’s time in a faultless 58.081 seconds. Kinsella would earn the second place honors while Navet would return to the arena for the winning presentation.
Navet can always count on Coronado Blue NF in a speed class. The 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding is consistently in the winners circle, most recently winning the $10,000 1.35m NEEd for Speed Derbies during both weeks of the Temecula Valley Fall National Horse Shows. While Coronado Blue NF does not have a naturally long stride, the talented gelding wastes no time in the air and makes up time by making tight turns and slicing fences.
Earlier in the day, the 1.40m Open Jumpers also competed in a speed class, sponsored by Premier Rehabilitation, where Kerri Potter galloped home with the winning title aboard Bisou, owned by Tres Palomas. The duo posted a fast clear round, racing through the timers in 60.506 seconds, almost three seconds faster than second place finishers, Guillermo Obligado (ARG) and Woodgrove Farm’s Idalgo, who cleared the track in 63.142 seconds. Mariano Maggi (SWE) and her own Right on Time Margarita rounded out the top three with a clear round in 63.985 seconds.
The National Sunshine Series is a FEI CSI3* event, presented by Marshall & Sterling, and on Wednesday afternoon 48 horses participated in the FEI Jog, sponsored by FarmVet, ahead of the week’s highlight events. FarmVet is the premier source for horse and pet supplements, supplies and prescriptions, offering top-notch service and a great value on all your favorite products. They will be on-site throughout the 2021-2022 Desert Horse Park show circuit, so stop by today for all of your horse care needs.
FEI CSI3* competition, presented by Marshall & Sterling, will kick off on Thursday with the $9,100 1.40m, sponsored by VitaFlex, followed by Friday’s $36,600, 1.50m sponsored by Sun Air Jets. Saturday’s highlight event will be the $36,600 1.45m, sponsored by Silver Rock/Talus, and FEI competition will conclude on Sunday with the $101,000 1.55m, sponsored by Marshall & Sterling.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Eric Navet – $2,500 Welcome Speed Winner
On Coronado Blue NF:
“I got this horse for the team last year early in the year. His particularity is that he’s very, very fast and he loves to go fast, and so do I with him! We have fun every time we go in the ring. He wins so many classes. He showed two weeks ago in Temecula and won two classes. He wins everywhere he goes. He won in Traverse City – everywhere he goes he wins at least one class. At that level – 1.30m/1.35m – he feels very comfortable and he’s very reliable. He doesn’t miss many classes; he’s always there. He’s a funny little horse.”
On the course:
“I could have left a stride out to the last fence, but he’s not a big horse so he doesn’t have such a huge stride. I didn’t think it was a good thing to try, but we were pretty fast the rest of the course. He’s very good at taking angles without slowing down. I tried to keep the rhythm and jump everything out of stride, except the double verticals because they were a little fragile and spooky, but that’s the only place I slowed down.”
On the Desert International Horse Park:
“I was very happy when I came today and discovered all the improvements in the facility. We can thank the organizers for making this facility prettier and cleaner. They are really on their way to have one of the best shows. Even more important than that is the footing. We have a brand new footing in the grand prix ring and the warm-up ring with the ebb and flow system underground. It’s a huge investment, so thank you to the owners of the facility for making the decision to make such a huge investment for the good of the horses. All of the riders appreciate that.”
$2,500 Welcome Speed sponsored by SmartPak
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | Time
- Coronado Blue NF / Eric Navet / FRA/ Signe Ostby / 0 | 57.883
- KBS Kiwi / Mark Kinsella / IRL / Valhalla Equestrian / 0 | 58.081
- Cortechico / Shawn Casady / USA / Tiffany Sullivan / 0 | 60.301
- Ariana / Lorcan Gallagher / IRL / HKC Collection LLC / 0 | 61.97
- King-Boy / Jeffrey Fields / USA / Kehring Family / 0 | 63.141
- Va Voom / Natasha Traurig / USA / Natasha Traurig / 0 | 63.897
- Macho-Blue PS / Katie Harris / USA / Katie Harris / 0 | 67.032
- George ZG / Andrew Lopez / USA / Andrew Lopez / 0 | 68.263
- Corsica / Lorcan Gallagher / IRL / Mark Miness / 0 | 68.349
- Edesa’s Captain-Fly / Cassio Rivetti / BRA / Edesa Horse Promotion Inc / 0 | 69.396