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Flying Horse photo

Hope Glynn and Campari were the pair to beat in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Jan. 27 at HITS Thermal.

THERMAL — When Hope Glynn and Campari won the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix on Jan. 27, it capped a great week of competition at HITS Desert Circuit I and put an exclamation point on a string of successes by Sonoma Valley Stables.

It also was one for the record books, marking the first high-stakes competition on the HITS Desert Horse Park’s new Outside Course and the first circuit qualifier for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final this September in Saugerties, N.Y.

“This was the first hunter prix HITS has done using the bank options, and the course designed by John Manning allowed you to canter up as well as down options on and off the bank,” said Glynn, who also placed third on Rio Ultimo in the class of 43 riders. Both horses are owned by Helen McEvoy.

“It was very inviting to the horses,” Glynn added. “We got a lot of high scores because the horses performed well over a course like this. The course was fun, it gave them something to look at, but it wasn’t so challenging that it scared them away, which is a great, great thing.”

Flying Horse photo

Bess Rochlitzer and Piper captured the $1,500 Hunter Prix of the HITS Desert Circuit.

Indeed, the Outside Course proved as inviting to junior riders as it was to pros like Glynn. Second place Grady Lyman, of Rancho Santa Fe, is 12 years old and was riding in her first big hunter prix.

“It was a great experience for me to be competing against the top name riders in a big class,” said Lyman, who competed on Flirt, under the guidance of one of her trainers at Bridgeport Farms, Lee Hughes. Flirt is owned by Penelope Murray.

Glynn said she is definitely seeking to qualify for the $500,000 class in Saugerties.

“I was the top-placed West Coast rider at the Final last year, and I think it’s a great experience to go back and compete against the top hunter riders in the East,” she said.

Also on Sunday, the $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix offered a qualification opportunity for the HITS $250,000 Hunter Prix Final in Saugerties. Bess Rochlitzer of Santa Barbara on Sylvia Ausweger’s Piper took top honors in that class, followed by Erika Scherer of Rancho Santa Fe on Kendra Arnold’s GodSpeed.

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