Thursday of Desert Circuit Week VI at the Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA, welcomed back FEI competition and course designer Bernardo Cabral (POR). FEI kicked-off with THREE classes in the Grand Prix Stadium as part of the new tiered structure at Desert Circuit, inviting different levels of competition with three tour options: Ruby Tour (1.35m – 1.40m), Sapphire Tour (1.40m – 1.45m), and Diamond Tour (1.45m – 1.55m).

Lane Clarke and Hooverphonic Odeveld Race to Victory in the $2,500 Ruby Tour Welcome CSI3*

Lane Clarke (AUS) and Hooverphonic Odeveld sped to a first-place finish in the $2,500 Ruby Tour Welcome, sponsored by El Paseo Jewelry, with a time of 34.8 seconds. Leslie Wright (USA) and Adamus (Caballo x Unknown), owned by Pinnacle Equine Group, LTD, finished with a time of 36.91. Nicole Haunert (USA) and Lady G (Levistus x Levisto), owned by Elle Campbell, concluded the top three finishing with a time of 39.52 seconds.

Twenty-four pairs challenged the course designed by Bernardo Cabral (POR). “It was a really cool course in many ways,” noted Clarke. “I think Bernardo did a really good job of giving you two options: you either went around and added a lot of time or you took a very difficult inside turn and saved a lot of time.”

Clarke has ridden the 2007 Belgian Warmblood, owned by Mickey Hayden, for several years. Today’s winning course was Hooverphonic Odeveld’s first competitive class back from a break. “We are really excited about how he felt and we know pretty soon he will be ready for the big classes,” explained Clarke. “He’s got so much blood, so much motor, and so much scope that I didn’t have to do anything other than let him do what he does.”

The pair will continue in the Ruby Tour this week, competing in the $5,000 Ruby Tour Speed, sponsored by Green is the New Blue, on Friday at 8 AM and the $10,000 Ruby Tour Classic, sponsored by Platinum Performance, on Saturday at 11 AM.

Clarke shared his gratitude to be competing at the horse park, “I would like to thank El Paseo Jewelers for sponsoring such a great class today,” Clarke commented. Although Clarke has been coming to Thermal for many years, he has enjoyed the recent changes occurring at the horse park, “All the improvements here [at Desert International Horse Park] are fantastic. I’ve been coming here for a long time. You feel the effort. You feel they appreciate you as an exhibitor, so it’s really nice,” Clarke concluded.

Lindsey Paton and Capilano HF Taste Sweet Victory in the $2,500 Sapphire Tour Welcome CSI3*

Lindsey Paton (CAN) and her own Capilano HF led the victory gallop in the $2,500 Sapphire Tour Welcome, sponsored by Osphos, with a short-course time of 29.37 seconds. Richard Fellers (USA) piloted Rob Bruce’s Mojo (Montender x Reichsgraf) to a second-place finish with a jump-off time of 30.92 seconds while Keean White (CAN) and Vampyr van de Rib (Roccossifred x Gratianus), owned by Alexandra Millar, were awarded third for their performance with a time of 33.291 seconds in the short-course.

Twenty-five pairs challenged the CSI3* course designed by Bernardo Cabral (POR) with 13 continuing onto the short-course. “I thought it was a really great course and a good course to start the week with,” Paton commented after her winning round. “I thought there were some good opportunities to make up some time in the speed section with some of the inside turns – I love the way the course was set.”

Paton has been paired with the 2008 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred gelding (Capone I x Colonel Rae XX) since he was four years old. “I’ve had him off and on throughout his life and last year was our first year moving up into the FEI division,” Paton shared. “He’s been great, he’s half Thoroughbred so he’s smart, he’s fast, he’s careful and I know him really well, so classes like this where it’s a little fast and has some inside turns, I know can really trust him.”

The win was a little extra special today, as it was also Paton’s birthday, “I definitely woke up thinking it would be fun to win class, it was an awesome birthday present and a great way to start the week,” Paton concluded.

Vani Khosla and Dragonfly de Longchamps Dominate in the $10,000 Diamond Tour Welcome CSI3*

Vani Khosla (USA) and her own Dragonfly de Longchamps finished victorious in the $10,000 Diamond Tour Welcome, sponsored by SmartPak, completing the speed course in a time of 67.09 seconds. Mariano Maggi (SWE) and Uma O’Neill’s Caville (Cartogran x Mr. Blue) finished in a close second with a time of 67.15 seconds, while Lindsay Archer (USA) was awarded third aboard Eta Beta di San Patrignano (Cornet Obolensky x Unknown), owned by Rhys Farms LLC, with a time of 69.91 seconds.

Bernardo Cabral’s (POR) CSI3* Speed course challenged twenty-three pairs, with six riders completing the class without any faults. “It was a tough course,” Khosla commented, “although it didn’t feel too big, the turns could definitely be tricky.”

Khosla purchased the 2009 Belgian Sport Horse mare at the Desert Circuit last year, “My first show with her was at here [at Thermal]; she’s amazing and I am really excited to have her,” Khosla shared. “We’re just learning about each other, so this is a pretty big win for us.”

The pair will return to the Grand Prix Stadium Friday for the $40,000 Diamond Tour Speed, sponsored by Vita Flex. “She’ll jump tomorrow in the Diamond Tour and then after we see how that goes I will decide if we do the Grand Prix on Sunday,” Khosla concluded.