Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Bonita VH Keizershof Z continued their Grand Prix success during Desert Circuit at Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA, landing the top spot in Desert Circuit III’s $25,000 FarmVet Grand Prix on Thursday. The pair crossed the speed course timers at 63.637 seconds. In second place was Germany’s Christian Heineking aboard NKH LLC’s NKH Mr. Darcy with a time of 67.173 seconds. Finishing the podium was Carlee McCutcheon (USA) in third, riding her own MTM Fortunate to a close time of 67.384 seconds.
“Bonita didn’t show last week and she’s just coming off her week one Grand Prix win, so this is her first class back [with her],” shared Ramsay. “I think when she first started, I just had to wake her up a little bit with my last couple of jumps in the warm-up [arena]. She was a little casual and wasn’t really awake, so I angled my last oxer in the warm-up and sliced the last vertical just to sort of let her know what was coming. Then she was ready to go.”
Twenty-seven pairs took on the challenge of Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) course and of the seven clear rounds, Ramsay boasted a 3.536 second lead. “I felt like the inside turns were not a given. I took an inside turn from one to two and I thought it was bold for the first two jumps,” revealed Ramsay on her strategy in the speed course. Heading to jumping efforts 7a and 7b, “I also did an inside turn to the double that I thought was pretty bold. The course was serious enough for the first day out, but it was nice.”
Ramsay went seventh in the order of go, so she had to keep her early lead through twenty additional rides. “I am very competitive and I have a ‘Ricky Bobby, if you ain’t first, you’re last,’ type of mentality,” Ramsay noted. “When you go early and have so many to come after you, it’s obviously a little stressful. I felt like I did everything I could do and was pretty confident coming out [of the arena]. She’s very fast.”