Saugerties, New York – September 07, 2023 – The 2023 HITS Championship is officially underway as the nation’s top athletes gather at HITS-on-the-Hudson to showcase their skills. Thursday’s main event in the Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Stadium brought together 53 horse and rider combinations to compete for the top prize in the $38,700 SummitMax FEI Welcome CSI 4*. Following their first day back in the show ring since arriving to the Big Apple from Ocala, FL, Will Simpson (USA) and Chacco P jumped to the top of the class with the fastest round of the day.
“We had a beautiful trip coming up here from Ocala and I just love it here in the upstate New York area,” expressed Simpson following his win. “We had a really good couple of days, and then today was the first day showing. [Chacco P] jumped really well in the schooling area and I was really excited about the way he jumped the first couple of jumps before we went in the ring.”
Oscar Soberon set a demanding track for Thursday’s class where the rider who garnered the fastest time would become the crowned victor at the end. The 13-jump course featured a triple-bar oxer out of the gate, three separate combinations, and several rollbacks placed strategically throughout the arena. Luis Sabino and Scoop De Septon Z were the pathfinders of the day, making their round of 77.19 seconds the time to beat. Fifteen rides later, the class leaders would change once more with Rene Dittmer (GER) and his first effort, Corsica. Their 68.99 second round would hold as the fastest time for the majority of the class, eventually slipping them into fourth place. However, Simpson and his partner of five years had yet to compete and were raring to go.
“We left for the ring and [Chacco P] was game on from the start,” smiled Simpson. “He jumped the triple bar great in nine strides. He did the same counts we walked and he was right on target from the get-go. He likes it here!”
The 34th pair to go in the $38,700 SummitMax FEI Welcome CSI 4*, Simpson and Chacco P zipped around the arena like they had been at HITS Saugerties for the entire summer. They finished their ride in a speedy 65.28 seconds, making them the new class leaders for the remainder of the competition. The second and third-place recipients made themselves known not long after, with Rene Dittmer (GER) using his final effort, Burlington Riverland, to try and beat Simpson’s time. Putting in a quick fault-free round of 68.35 seconds, Dittmer and Burlington Riverland slid into second, with Jad Dana (LBN) and Itchcock Des Dames following two rides later. Their time of 68.45 seconds would make them the third-fastest double-clear team of the day.
“[Chacco P] is as brave as can be,” concluded Simpson. “He’s brave beyond comprehension! The trick is to get him so that he’s careful; he thinks he just wants to go, go, go, and those little tiny pine rails sometimes don’t get his attention as much. He was intrigued by the jumps. So, it was a good day for us and our partnership. This is our first time in the new venue, and the footing is great. Everything was spot on and I think [Chacco P] really felt like being a champion today!”
FEI competition will continue this week at HITS Saugerties with Friday’s $77,300 HITS Jumper Classic CSI4*. Be sure to tune in for Sunday’s feature event during the $300,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI4* following the $45,000 Platinum Performance Junior Amateur Jumper Prix CSI4*. For more information, visit www.hitsshows.com.
Final Results – $38,700 SummitMax FEI Welcome CSI 4*
1) Will Simpson (USA) & Chacco P – 0 – 65.28
2) Rene Dittmer (GER) & Burlington Riverland – 0 – 68.35
3) Jad Dana (LBN) & Itchcock Des Dames – 0 – 68.45
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © ESI Photography