James Arkins & Eurostar Steal the Spotlight in the $100,000 Hygain Feeds Grand Prix at Thermal

Thermal, California, USA – November 5, 2022 – James Arkins’ (AUS) trip to Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) was a long one, but it was well worth it. Recently, he relocated his top horse Eurostar 1 to the United States, and following an appearance at the FEI World Championships, the pair took the number one spot in the $100,000 Hygain Feeds Grand Prix in the first grand prix event of the 2022/2023 season.

Not only was this the first Grand Prix of the National Sunshine Series, but it was also the first time Arkins had shown Eurostar since the World Championships in August. “I only got him back last week so this is our first time back in the show ring and to come out with a win is just incredible. I’m super excited,” the Australian rider reflected. 

Alan Wade (IRL) set the track for the feature event of the week, welcoming 48 horse-and-rider combinations to attempt to navigate the tricky course clear. Of the starting entries, nine qualified for the short course, and Arkins had pole position of being second to last in the jump-off order.

Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) & Vick du Croisy

Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR), hot off his win in Thursday’s $30,000 Open Classic, set the pace with Vick du Croisy, owned by Sigma Stables, in 37.066 seconds.

It almost seemed he could not be caught, until Arkins and the 10-year-old stallion (Diarado x Chacco Blue) managed to shave off nearly one full second and take the lead.

Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Copycat

Gonçalves claimed second while Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) and the Lost Lake Farm entry Copycat secured third place in 37.433 seconds.

“I’ve had him since he was a 3-year-old and produced him the whole way through,” Arkins said of Eurostar. “We decided at the end of last year to bring him over to the [United States]; we thought we’d have a crack at trying to get him on the team for the World Championships. He’s just grown every show we’ve gone to and he’s just getting better and better.”

Having a breakout year, Arkins has had Nations Cup appearances and already knows the horse is a championship-caliber athlete. He now eyes Olympic Games and additional championship events to come.

James Arkins (AUS) & Eurostar 1 during the awards ceremony

“He’s always been such a beautiful horse in every way,” Arkins continued. “He’s so trainable and incredibly intelligent. You almost have to be a little careful that you don’t let him know too quickly that you want to turn, because as soon as he knows you’re turning he’s off. Everything we’ve asked him through his whole training process he’s stepped up. I’m really excited about the next 18 months to two years with him and really looking forward to trying to get him on the [Olympic] team for Paris.”

A newcomer to DIHP, Arkins’ trip has been worthwhile. “I’ve heard a lot about it and I really wanted to come here,” Arkins said of DIHP. “I thought of the opportunity to see the rest of the country and it really hasn’t disappointed. It’s been great. This is an amazing facility and I think [they] are putting on a fantastic show. I’m looking forward to coming back here in a couple weeks for Major League [Show Jumping].”

Arkins’ name is now in the running for the inaugural $100,000 National Grand Prix Jumper Rider Bonus to be awarded at the end of Desert Circuit.

Final Results: $100,000 Hygain Feeds Grand Prix

1) James Arkins (AUS) & Eurostar 1 – 0 / 0 – 36.103

2) Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) & Vick du Croisy – 0 / 0 – 37.066

3) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Copycat – 0 / 0 – 37.433

Source: Press Release from Desert International Horse Park

Photos: © DIHP / ESI Photography