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HITS hits stride

John Bragg, Castle Hill in featured hunter victory

Special to the Horsetrader - February 16th, 2012 - Show & Event News

THERMAL — John Bragg of Redwood City lived up to his name and earned some bragging rights in the 5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix when he posted a pair of scores in the 90s aboard Stephanie Ray’s Castle Hill to capture the feature class for hunters Feb. 5 at Desert Circuit II.

Bragg was impressive in the popular hunter prix that featured almost 60 horse-and-rider combinations in the first round on a course set by Rian Beals. The seasoned hunter rider brought home a 92 in the first round and set the stage for some exciting competition. In the second round, Bragg and Castle Hill didn’t disappoint the crowd as they nailed the round posting another 92 en route to the first-place ribbon.

More importantly, Bragg earned valuable dollars in an effort to qualify for the Diamond Mills 500,000 Hunter Prix Final that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York this fall.

“We are going to Saugerties. That’s the whole reason why we are doing the class,” said Bragg. “We heard such great things about the big class in Saugerties and I think we have the perfect horse for it. I showed him in the performance working hunter this week and he was champion.”

Hope Glynn of Penngrove had a great afternoon, scoring a second-place performance aboard Sarah Draxton’s Rienzo. She was also fifth riding Helen McEvoy’s Chance of Flurries.

Other top awards in the class were given to Nick Hanees of San Clemente, riding Laura Wasserman’s Truman, and John French of Woodside and his own Kingsley, who placed third and fourth, respectively.
Amatuer rider Emily Winkler of Long Beach led the way in the $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix on Sunday afternoon when she and her Landmark bested a field of 26 that showed over Rian Beals’ course.

Winkler and Landmark had the top score in both the first and second round when they notched an 86 and an 86, respectively, to win the instantly popular class. The pair are now well on their way to qualifying for the all-new $250,000 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final during HITS Championship Weekend at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York this fall.

“My horse was originally bred to be a Grand Prix horse,” said Winkler. “He has the jump, but was too slow. He is my favorite horse that I have ever owned because of his huge jump, but I have to be careful since I have been launched in the air because of his power.”

Fellow amateur rider Erika Scherer of Rancho Santa Fe and Deanna Berquist’s Ragtop were hot on Winkler’s heals, scoring a total of 169 in the two-round class that brought back the top 15 from the first round. At the end of the class, the talented team finished in second place. Rounding out the top three was Mikayla Stuart of Rancho Santa Fe aboard her own Kingsley.

More online: See website http://bit.ly.22B_HITS

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