Kyle King wasn’t sure his strategy of four rides in the $100,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix was going to pay off, but he proved himself wrong as he took the victory in the first Grand Prix of the season aboard SIG Chiari, owned by the Chi Group.

King and SIG Chiari were the seventh and final pair to jump clear over Anderson Lima’s first-round course, meaning they had the last word. Having withdrawn his first clear mount Cerolino, King only had one shot, and he made it count.

Kyle King and SIG Chiari. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“I was lucky [to go last] because it wasn’t in my plan to get eight [strides] from [fences] two to three, but then I saw Charlie gallop right down and I thought I’d better try,” King said of what he learned having watched Charlie Jones and Capitale 6, owned by Morning Star Sporthorses, jump off before him. “I was halfway down and I wasn’t sure I was going to get there but Chi just picked up wings and flew, and it actually helped me being long there because I got a really good rollback. The rest of it I think we were just even.”

King’s time of 39.072 seconds edged Jones into second place, also with a win in the $1,000 U25 Bonus, sponsored by The Surrey. Simon Schroeder and Charlie Red Wine CS, owned by Morris Simchowitz, claimed third in the season’s opening Grand Prix.

Charlie Jones and Capitale 6. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“Chi is a special horse,” King said of his winning 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding. “He’s just so much heart. I got him last season and stepped him up. He won a $100,000 class out of the blue. He’s stepped up into a lot of five-star ranking classes. He’s just super competitive. He has so much try and heart, and I just love the horse. He’s exactly the ride you want in a jump-off. You can just push and he tries so hard.”

The first round was challenging, with only seven out of 43 pairs jumping clear. The time allowed was tight, and various elements proved difficult in the atmosphere of the Grand Prix Arena under the lights.

Simon Schroeder and Charlie Red Wine CS. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“I thought under the lights it rode pretty big,” King reflected. “I haven’t shown in a month but I thought it was big. The first round he actually did not jump that great. He was not quite getting across the oxers and liverpools being under the lights. He came out in the jump-off and did what he does. I was very proud of him.”

King has been building a premier string of grand prix horses and feels confident about his group after winning the Grand Prix Rider Bonus at the close of Desert Circuit 2023. Strategically placing each of his horses, they’ll continue to show during the National Sunshine Series and gear up for an exciting season ahead.

Kyle King and SIG Chiari in their winning presentation. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“All the horses you saw tonight are my main group,” he said of the four horses he entered in the class, two of which finished in the top six. “I wouldn’t normally do four in a class; the odds aren’t usually that great, but we’ve had a month off so it sort of made sense. They’re going to jump next week and then they get a couple weeks off. Then we have the two weeks of Major League. We’re going to get in there and do as much damage as possible.”

See full results from the $100,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix here.

Jumping continues Sunday with the $30,000 Marshall & Sterling 1.40m Open Classic and the $10,000 Tack Box 1.35m Open Classic.

Angel Karolyi and Elliott Speed to Win Silver Oak Jumper Tournament Jump for Kevin 1.20m

Angel Karolyi and Elliott. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

A fan favorite class of the National Sunshine Series took place Saturday of week 1 as riders gathered for the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament Jump for Kevin 1.20m, sponsored by Equitex. Thirty-four pairs went up against the clock in the speed class, but it was the last pair on course, Angel Karolyi with Elliott, who took the fastest time and donned the custom cooler donated by Equitex.

“He’s a new partner for me,” Karolyi remarked of Katherine Corona’s 14-year-old gelding. “I just started working with him a few weeks ago, so I’m just getting to know him. A lot of things have to change for the way I ride but we’ve experimented in the 1.30m. I talked to the owner and I thought we should finish with this class and it would be a good way to end the week.”

Angel Karolyi and Elliott. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The horse isn’t quite tuned to Karolyi’s riding style, so they’re getting to know one another the more they jump. “I’m changing a lot on him,” he continued. “You can’t change the way they go and up the height at the same time. You have to throw difficulties one at a time or else they can get overwhelmed.”

Overall, Karolyi likes the natural talent he sees and the way the horse is progressing. “He’s a good quality horse, very fast,” he shared. “He needs time to develop and change. He’s an older horse but I need to adjust things. He can jump 1.40-1.45m successfully but we have to build to that. He’ll speak for himself as he’s ready. I do my job and listen to them and they’ll tell me when they’re ready to go up the ranks.”

Karolyi enjoys competing in the Jump for Kevin 1.20m when he comes to the desert and loves the way a class like this brings the equestrian community together.

“Kevin and I have been friends for many years,” he said. “He’s been one of my idols since I was a kid. Hard worker, great guy, humble, and he’s a big ambassador of our sport. This is a great thing to do. It shows what a great and supportive community we have.”

Rachel Fields and Katokyboy HDH. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Earlier Saturday, it was the young horses’ time to shine in the $7,500 DIHP 10 & Under Futurity Series, a class that was very well received in its first few years of running and back for another season. Of the 44 competitive entries, Rachel Fields took top call aboard the Kehring Family’s Katokyboy HDH in a blazing 39.355 seconds in her jump-off. Second place went to Isabella Sevigny with Jolia BH, owned by Chikara Show Jumping, while Nicole Haunert took third with My Lady Lavista, owned by Cherokee Show Horses.