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Fellers strikes it rich with Flexible, McGuinness

Special to the Horsetrader - February 17th, 2011 - Cover Story, Show & Event News
A red-hot Rich Fellers and McGuinness topped 37 starters Feb. 6th in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix in Thermal.

Flying Horse photo

A red-hot Rich Fellers and McGuinness topped 37 starters Feb. 6th in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix in Thermal.

THERMAL– Rich Fellers put an exclamation point on Desert Circuit II when he rode Harry and Mollie Chapman’s McGuinness to the blue ribbon in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix Feb. 6th, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at the HITS Desert Horse Park.

Winning Sunday’s feature class was icing on the cake for Fellers who, less than 24 hours earlier, captured Saturday night’s $50,000 Strongid C 2X CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Flexible.

In Sunday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Fellers and McGuinness were the top horse-and-rider team out of a group of 37 starters that challenged International Course Designer Bernard Cabral’s (Lisbon, Portugal) first-round track and the six that advanced to the short course.

Cabral’s first-round track featured 13 fences with a time allowed of 88 seconds. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Westlake Village, California) was first to show and didn’t waste any time, showing the rest of the pack how it was done when she went clear aboard Octavia Farm’s Lancaster 144. One trip later, Hap Hansen (Encinitas, California) and Linda Smith’s Archie Bunker ensured there would be a jump-off with a clear round of their own, as the crowd settled in for what was sure to be an exciting afternoon class in the Strongid C 2X Stadium.

The first round appeared to be challenging as the course produced rails at 12 of the 13 obstacles along the way. Saer Coulter (San Francisco, California) and Copernicus Stables’ Cash 51, Kyle King (Ocala, Florida) and Corrine Super’s Capone I, Karen Cudmore (Omaha, Nebraska) and Blair Cudmore’s Shea, and Fellers and McGuinness each were able to navigate the course successfully and advance to the jump-off.

In a rare turn of events, each of the six teams that advanced to the jump-off produced double-clear rounds, making it a race for time with Fellers finishing at the top of the heap! Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Lancaster 144 were first to go in the jump-off and set the Great American Time to Beat at 46.722 seconds.

The next two teams to follow Michaels-Beerbaum were Hansen aboard Archie Bunker and Coulter aboard Cash 51. Both riders gave it their all but ultimately they were too slow to push Michaels-Beerbaum from the top of the chart. When the class was complete, Hansen and Coulter finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

Kyle King and Corrine Super’s Capone I were fourth to go in the jump-off and became the new leaders, racing through the timers 44.708 seconds. At the end of the class, they finished in third place.
Fellers and McGuinness were fifth in the jump-off order and came all the way home clean making the dash for the cash in 44.272 seconds to take the lead and eventually secure the blue ribbon.

The enviable last-to-go spot belonged to Cudmore and Shea. The pair gave it their all, crossing the timers in 45.952 finishing just off the pace set by Fellers and had to settle for second place.
When all was said and done, Michaels-Beerbaum finished in fourth place.

More results: See website http://www.hitsshows.com/results/resultswinter_11.html

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