Edited Press Release
Saugerties, N.Y. – September 2, 2022 – The 2022 HITS Championship is quickly approaching, and riders are gearing up during HITS-on-the-Hudson VII as they prepare for the final week of competition. Top riders gathered at the Grand Prix Stadium to compete in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, where Laura Chapot captured her second major win of the week after topping Thursday’s $10,000 HITS 1.40m Jumper Classic. This time she was aboard Diarado’s Flying Dutchman, who won the same event during HITS-on-the-Hudson III, and the duo has continued to improve their partnership throughout the summer at HITS Saugerties.
“He won one of the SmartPak events in the spring, but it’s taken a while for us to get to know each other,” explained Chapot, who began riding the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding two years ago. “Now, I have a better feeling as to how he likes to be ridden. He also has a little better feeling, just through time and experience, as to how I like to ride. We’ve really started to come together, and he’s done really well this year!”
Catsy Cruz laid an exacting 13-obstacle track for the day’s highlight event, which included a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination as the fifth test, and eventually continued with an oxer-vertical double combination, finishing with a bending line to the last large oxer. Only three pairs were able to clear the course and advance to jump-off, which introduced three new fences before they galloped home over the last oxer towards the gate.
Chapot was the first to return and knew she would need to be quick and clear to leave the remaining riders chasing her. Diarado’s Flying Dutchman’s naturally fast pace helped them dash across the finish line in a faultless 39.901 seconds. Maria Brugal was next with J’Adore Flamenco, and while they were able to leave all the fences intact, their conservative time of 44.698 seconds would rank them behind Chapot on the leaderboard. Mattias Tromp was the last to contest the track aboard Infuria P&P. They had a quick pace, but it came at the expense of a single rail heading home, ranking them third with 4 faults in 41.898 seconds.
Chapot returned to the winner’s circle for the second time this week after earning the victory in Thursday’s $10,000 HITS 1.40m Jumper Classic with Calafornia, where she led a very quick nine-horse jump-off. Despite being the first to compete in Friday’s jump-off, Chapot stuck to her plan with Diarado’s Flying Dutchman and relied on his natural speed to take home the winning title.
“He is so unique that I just try and set my plan with him,” commented Chapot. “He is a very quick horse naturally. He doesn’t necessarily always leave out the strides, but he just has a natural rhythm that is very fast. I try and stick to my plan with him and not worry too much about the rest of it. I hope he has a good round, and then if someone catches him, they catch him, but more often than not, he’s right up there if he puts in a good performance.”
Chapot continued, “He’s really gotten more and more consistent every time out. Even today, he felt really bouncy and excited and I thought he might be a little bit over the top because he does have a lot of energy. He was really focused in the ring today and it just shows that he’s growing up and starting to get the idea of what he has to do when he shows.”
The HITS Saugerties series is always on Chapot’s calendar, and she appreciates the amount of variety offered for her horses and her clients. “The Grand Prix ring great, and the footing has held up really well this year. They have so many options for the rest of my customers because they really offer a variety of classes,” she concluded. “Over the summer, I brought a couple of young horses, and these two weeks I brought a 5-year-old and another younger horse that I’m just getting to know. There are so many options available that it’s easy to develop a horse here and to move up the divisions and really bring them along, and they offer enough for the top of the sport as well as for everyone else!”
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