Edited Press Release
Aboard Quality H, Mark Kinsella (IRL) took top honors in the $50,000 El Cristiano National Grand Prix Saturday afternoon of Desert Circuit III, besting some elite pairs and further solidifying their partnership.
Over Manuel Esparza’s track, Kinsella was early to jump off, and in good company, with the likes of Conor Swail, Kaitlin Campbell, and more top athletes. Swail set the pace to beat aboard Casturano, proving a questionable inside turn was achievable, and making the field catch his double-clear time of 34.471 seconds.
“I watched Conor go first and there was a pretty dicey inside turn back to the combination which I didn’t love when we walked, but he did it and made it look pretty smooth,” Kinsella remarked. “I know my horse has a big stride so I left out in the jump-off. I know he’s fast so I used his step coming home, doing the double leave-out. I used his length of stride and speed and it worked out today thankfully.”
Kinsella’s time of 32.227 seconds put him into a convincing lead. Only Kaitlin Campbell came in with a blazing pace aboard Palina De L’Escaut, owned by SWS Training & Sales, and threatened that time, but opted to forego the inside turn, still clocking in ahead of Swail in 33.824 seconds. Swail took third as the class came to a close. Delaney Batter won the EquiFit U25 Classic with a double-clear round aboard Vulcana.
“He’s a phenomenal horse,” Kinsella said of Quality H, a 2011 Hanoverian gelding (FRH Quaid x Stakkato). “Originally I was going to start him FEI this week but there’s such great money in the national classes here at DIHP. For this horse right now it was a good pick to keep him in the national classes. They’re good courses, they’re pretty technical to ride, and I feel like he’s extremely comfortable at this level. We’ll aim to go FEI for the second half of the circuit.”
The course certainly presented its challenges, whittling down a field of 29 to eight for the jump-off, but Kinsella thought it worked to his horse’s advantage.
“This course rode pretty nice,” he said. “This designer likes to use different angles that we wouldn’t necessarily see every week so it’s good because it puts us riders under a bit of a challenge to do something that’s not so ordinary. Overall, the courses have been fantastic. Last week there was an Irish builder and he built amazing courses. I’ve had a great week with this horse.”
The battle between the Irishmen fell in Kinsella’s favor this time, but Swail has had a sensational week, taking a podium placing every time he’s stepped foot in the Grand Prix Arena. He is also on a clear-round streak with all his horses, and Casturano has not dropped a rail in National action yet at DIHP.
“Obviously Conor is so fast and he’s on this never ending winning streak,” Kinsella commented regarding his first place finish over Swail. “He’s so competitive and so hot. Granted, he’s on a new horse, so he’s still getting to know his new partnership but it seems to be an incredible horse. I’m not looking forward to fighting one on one against that pair six months from now.”
In the $38,700 Morning Star Sporthorses CSI3* 1.45m Classic, Gregory Wathelet (BEL) added another win to his impressive resume in the desert, once again aboard his homebred 11-year-old mare Argentina De La Marchete.
After an impressive week at Desert Circuit II with four wins, he made it an even five with a speedy jump-off to take the lead by a full second over second-place finisher, Irishman Conor Swail, and was able to maintain his position despite quick riders following him in the second round.
Over Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) first-round track, nine competitors jumped clear, with Wathelet having the advantage of jumping off later in the returning order. One round prior, Swail took the lead aboard Theo 160, seeming to leave very little on the table. But using his mare’s quick footspeed and inside turns, Wathelet managed to unseat Swail and push him to second.
“I went number one with a really good canter because I knew the [first] seven strides were a bit flat for me. I did that easily. I ran a little. She can do quite easy inside turns.” He secured his faultless effort by not leaving out a stride in the final line on course. He said, “ I decided to do 8 because I felt like I was fast enough at the beginning that I didn’t have to take that risk.”
Final Results: $50,000 El Cristiano National Grand Prix
1. Quality H / Mark Kinsella / Ben Asselin / 0/0/32.227
2. Palina De L’Escaut / Kaitlin Campbell / SWS Training & Sales / 0/0/33.824
3. Casturano / Conor Swail / Conor Swail / 0/0/34.471
4. Vulcana / Delaney Batter / Delaney Batter / 0/0/37.725
5. Escapado S / Ian McFarlane / Mountain View West Farm LLC / 0/4/36.753
6. T-Quick Hurricane Z / Allison Kroff / TC Sport Horses LLC / 0/4/42.564
7. Hunters Conlypso II / Lorcan Gallagher / Lorcan Gallagher / 0/8/33.731
8. Comrado / Savannah Jenkins / Proper 12, LLC / 0/8/50.427
9. Tinkerbell / Elisa Broz / Elisa Broz / 4/70.111
10. Ilana / Halle Duke / Halle Duke / 4/72.113
11. Odysseus / Kyle King / Patricia Vasey / 4/72.15
12. Epsilon De Brenil / Andrew Lopez / Andrew Lopez / 4/72.316
Final Results: $38,700 Morning Star Sporthorses CSI3* 1.45m Classic
1. ARGENTINA DE LA MARCHETE: 2012 SCSL mare (Acajou De La Marchete x Del Piero PB)
GREGORY WATHELET (BEL), Gregory Wathelet: 0/0/30.65
2. THEO 160: 2012 HOLST gelding by Christian 25 x Calando IV
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Team Philippaerts: 0/0/31.63
3. CHICAGO CM: 2013 HOLST gelding by Cassini x Carpaccio
ERIC KRAWITT (CAN), Eric Krawitt: 0/0/32.59
4. CON CALLE: 2009 Holst gelding by Contendro II x Cassini II
MAVIS SPENCER (USA), Georgy Maskrey-Segesman: 0/0/34.36
5. ZAMIA 3: 2007 HOLST mare by Aljano 2 x Dream Of Glory
CHANDLER MEADOWS (USA), Chandler Meadows: 0/0/35.74
6. INDIGO VAN DE MUGGENHOEK: 2013 KWPN gelding by Montender x Riverman ISF
ZUME GALLAHER (USA), Blue Gate Stables, LLC: 0/0/35.93
7. ETALON: 2009 KWPN gelding by Otangelo x Concorde
KYLE KING (USA), Christine Maclean: 0/4/32.11
8. CALACAS D AUBIGNY: 2012 SF gelding by Jarnac x Notrestar Dela Nutria
ZUME GALLAHER (USA), Blue Gate Stables, LLC: 0/4/34.09
9. FEYON: 2010 KWPN gelding by Zazou R x Hamilton
KAITLIN CAMPBELL (USA), SWS Training & Sales: 0/8/38.32
10. CALIFORNIA SUNSHINE: 2013 DSP mare by Captain Z x Bollvorm’s Lauriston
SUSAN ARTES (USA), Alix Fargo: 1/79.23
11. CALGARY IV: 2008 HOLST mare by Casall x Calato
NICOLE HAUNERT (USA), Cherokee Show Horses Inc: 4/75.74
12. CONRADO 12: 2013 ZANG gelding by Cardento x Diarado
ALI RAMSAY (CAN), Ramsay Equestrian LLC: 4/76.87
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