Thermal, California, USA – February 12, 2022 – All eyes fell on the Grand Prix Arena Saturday night of Desert Circuit IV as top show jumping athletes competed for top honors in the $40,000 Adequan Grand Prix. Under the lights and in front of an impressive crowd at Desert International Horse Park, horse-and-rider combinations tried one by one to navigate the course fault free in order to secure a spot in the subsequent jump-off. At the conclusion of the prestigious class, it was Canada’s Ben Asselin (CAN) on top aboard Veyron, owned by Attache Stables.
German course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. set forth the track for the 35 competitors to conquer. His course for the evening presented various challenges, including a triple bar oxer, a vertical-oxer double combination, an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination, and a tight time allowed of 83 seconds. Rails fell all across the course as the class went on, but the time allowed proved to play a significant factor as six combinations jumped clear over the fences but incurred one or more faults against the clock.
Keeping up her incredible clear round streak, Karrie Rufer (USA) was first to clear the course, and she did so in a time of 80.541 seconds aboard the Morning Star Sporthorses entry Stern dei Folletti, with which she won the $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix just one week prior. Following suit, Ireland’s James Chawke (IRL) guaranteed a jump-off immediately following Karrie Rufer (USA) with a clear round aboard Vanessa Mannix’s (CAN) Catinka 25. Also securing spots in the coveted jump-off were Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and Ben Asselin (CAN). All four clear rounds came early in the order, with no additional pairs jumping clear around the track and within the time allowed after the midway drag break.
First to jump off, Rufer (USA) and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Stern dei Folletti cleared the short course in a time of 41.761 seconds, putting pressure on the remaining three entries to keep the rails up and increase the speed even more to dethrone her. James Chawke’s (IRL) time wasn’t far off with the speedy 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Catinka 25, but incurred 4 faults in 42.214 seconds.
Kaitlin Campbell (USA) and Paulina de L’Escaut pulled off a tricky inside turn, but it wasn’t quite enough, as she crossed the timers in 43.412 seconds, eventually placing her third.
Final Results – $40,000 Adequan Grand Prix
1) Ben Asselin (CAN) & Veyron – 0 / 0 – 41.530
2) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Stern dei Folletti – 0 / 0 – 41.761
3) Kaitlin Campbell (USA) & Palina de L’Escaut – 0 / 0 – 43.412
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Olivia Nazworth