Thermal, California, USA. – December 19, 2020 – Kyle King (USA) and Christine Maclean’s Etalon raced to victory in Desert Holiday III’s $25,000 Adeptus Grand Prix on Saturday at the Desert International Horse Park.
Scott Starnes’ (USA) course challenged twenty-one pairs, with seven riders returning clear for the jump-off. “It was not super big today, but it was still challenging,” commented King. “There were enough short turns that were a little awkward, like the double verticals at the end off a short left turn. The jump-off, honestly E.T. [Etalon] is so fast, that he was just in second gear.”
The American and the 11-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding (Otangelo x Concorde) teamed up for two penalty-free performances, crossing the jump-off timers at 42.308 seconds during the tiebreaker.
Matias Fernandez (CHI) and Lydna Twomey’s Lucas Van De Hellevort (unknown) finished in a close second with a time of 43.455 seconds.
Stephanie Gershon (USA) was awarded third aboard C’est Roberto, owned by Everardo Hegewisch, with a time of 46.163 seconds.
Despite being no stranger to the feature class on Sundays, original plans for Etalon did not consist of Grand Prixs. “He came to me as a 1.30m horse and he just quickly grew into this. At first I thought he was just going to be a sales horse kind of thing for the people that owned him, but he started winning and being fun for all of us,” King shared. “He wins a lot, he’s so consistent and competitive. He’s a horse I am going to do on the [Major League Show Jumping] team next year for Team Desert Horse Park.”
King, along with five other athletes, is a part of Team Desert Horse Park, one of the eight teams across North America competing in the inaugural season of Major League Show Jumping. “He’s going to be pretty much my designated team horse because he’s so consistent and very fast. This [Desert Circuit] we are going to compete in the Sunday Grand Prixs, but I am really hoping to keep him fresh and right for these team events next season. For that type of competition, you need a very consistent horse and that’s what he is.”
King and his team will continue to stay at the Desert International Horse Park over the four-week break and into the Desert Circuit season. “This is my new home! I’m the resident here now at Desert Horse Park,” King laughed. “Which is great, and I am on the team. […] I’m looking forward to the winter tour this season. They’ve done such a good job here, the footing is great and my horses are jumping just great. We’re looking forward to a good season.”
Source: Press release from Desert International Horse Park
Photo: © ESI Photography