The Temecula Valley National Horse Show returned to Galway Downs for another week of competition Wednesday, with the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake and 1.40m Jumpers attracting some of the most talented horse-and-athlete combinations to the Audi Grand Prix Ring, presented by Evergate Stables. Capturing his third Welcome Stake win in Temecula, Will Simpson in the irons aboard Chicharito blew away the challengers in the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake, concluding the class as the clear winners by more than three seconds.
Will Simpson and Chicharito. Photo by Phelps Sports
The highlight jumper class of the day, the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake brought 31 entries to center stage to compete for the greatest share of the prize money, with course designer Anderson Lima’s (BRA) carefully constructed 13-obstacle track serving as the test each pair would have to overcome to advance into the jump-off.
Following the first portion of riding, 16 partnerships earned a shot over the immediate short course, which consisted of eight efforts, and seven went on to add another clear ride to their final tally. As the second pair to ride, Nicole Haunert and Concolue were the first duo to successfully leave all the fences intact twice, breaking the beam in 43.105 seconds to set the early standard, but they were soon overtaken by Brown and Valiant, who improved upon their counterparts’ results by nearly four seconds to claim the lead with more than twenty teams still to ride.
Eleventh to go, Olympic champion Simpson took to the ring in the saddle aboard his own Chicharito, and the partnership jumped to a league all their own in a lightning fast time of 36.353 seconds, which they achieved in part thanks to completing four strides in a line in which most competitors completed in five strides. The remainder of the pack tried to eclipse Simpson and Chicharito, but none came close to usurping the quick pair. Brown and Valiant, owned by Harley Brown Equestrian, Inc., secured the runner-up position, while Femke Courchaine and John Van Den Bosch’s Dereusa S earned third place with their double clean time of 39.160 seconds.
Will Simpson and Chicharito in the presentation. Photo by Phelps Sports
Simpson has achieved a great deal of success in Temecula over the past two years, and last week alone he earned first prize in the $20,000 Platinum Performance 1.40m – 1.45m Speed Derby as well as the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake with Chacco P and Whoop De Doo, respectively. Proving to consistently be the one to beat at the beginning of weekly competition, Simpson logged his third victory in the class Wednesday, impressively aboard a third winning horse. In 2018 during the third week of the debut Temecula Valley National Horse Show, Simpson championed the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake with the ride on Attention ET Z, and in the past two weeks the veteran rider has navigated both Whoop De Doo and now Chicharito to matching honors in the CWD-sponsored class.