Culpeper, Virginia, USA – April 23, 2022 – The first week of the HITS Culpeper Series concluded on Sunday, showcasing many changes at HITS Commonwealth Park, including new footing in the Grand Prix ring. The highlight event of the day was the $20,000 HITS Open Prix, where Charles Casey (USA) and HJ Bernie Sanders sped to victory during a five-horse jump-off, besting Grace Long (USA) aboard Happiness VD Hazel Hof and Tracy Magness (USA) with Intenz Van HD, who placed second and third respectively.
“I’ve had HJ Bernie Sanders since he was 4 years old and he’s 9 now, so I’ve done everything with him,” noted Casey after his win. “He jumped all the young horse classes and he has been super. He’s really coming into his own now this year. He jumped some really good rounds this winter, and he’s prepping for a nice big summer.”
Canada’s Danny Foster (CAN) set a technical track for the first round of competition, which included two double combinations and a bending line to the final wide oxer. Five pairs advanced to the jump-off, where just fractions of a second separated the top finishers. The tiebreaker included several long gallops to make up time and finished with the same final oxer going toward the gate.
Juliana Thorbecke (USA) and Andromeda Z set the original time to beat as the pathfinders in the jump-off, setting the pace at 48.735 seconds with a clear effort.
Tracy Magness (USA) and Intenz Van HD quickly hastened the pace with a faultless round in 45.973 seconds. Casey and HJ Bernie Sanders were next in the ring and quickly galloped to the top of the leaderboard. Utilizing his horse’s long stride to leave out the fences, Casey broke the beam in 44.373 seconds with all the rails intact.
Grace Long (USA) and Happiness VD Hazel Hof tried to catch Casey but slid into the second-place position after stopping the clock in a clear 44.721 seconds, just half a second slower.
“When I flatted him this morning, I thought he felt really great and really ready for the class,” explained Casey. “He jumped super on Wednesday, so I was planning to go for it in the jump-off and go for the win. He’s a good galloping horse, he’s got a big stride, so I really could let him go and run down the lines a little bit. We followed the plan and he was just right with me.”
Casey concluded, “I think the team at HITS Culpeper is doing a really nice job. They’re making improvements to the stalls, and the footing seems great. The horses are all jumping super off it, so I’m looking forward to coming back and showing here more.”
In July, riders will return to HITS Commonwealth Park for the Showday National and the Cavalier Classic, scheduled for July 5 – 16, 2023. Each week will feature a $20,000 Open Prix and a $2,500 USHJA National Derby, in addition to a large variety of hunter and jumper classics for riders of all levels. For more information visit http://www.hitsshows.com.
Final Results – $20,000 Hits Open Prix
1) Charles Casey (USA) & HJ Bernie Sandres – 0 / 0 – 44.373
2) Grace Long (USA) & Happiness VD Hazel Hof – 0 / 0 – 44.721
3) Tracy Magness (USA) & Intenz Van HD – 0 / 0 – 45.973
Source: Press Release by Rebecca Walton for Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © Hits / Rebecca Walton
Categories: Hits Horse Shows, Results, USEF Rated