[Langley, BC] There were a whole lot of Fellers in Sunday’s $100,000 Canaccord Genuity World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix at Thunderbird Show Park. Current World Cup champion, Rich Fellers (USA), advanced with both Flexible & Colgan Cruise, while wife Shelley went clear on Revenge.
With just five in the jumpoff, the crowd was on their feet to see Rich post the only double clear rounds and win the day.
Photo ©Totem Photographics
Alan Wade, who assisted under Bob Ellis in London, designed the Canaccord Genuity World Cup course. He set the fences high with challenging distances that tested the field. Egypt’s, Nayel Nassar and Raging Bull Vangelis S were one of the lucky few to advance, along with Langley local, Brian Morton on Spitfire.
“Well would you look at that,” said Morton, leaving the ring after posting the final clear of the first round to secure a spot in the jump off. The pair won Friday’s Tommy Bahama Grand Prix, edging out Fellers and McGuinness.
Fellers and his 9 year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Colgan Cruise were first in for the jump off, making no mistakes and setting the pace at 39 seconds flat. Nassar had a rail mid-course to finish with a time of 40.64 and four faults. Shelley Fellers was next in and was looking to make a bid for the lead, but a late rail drew groans from the crowd as she posted four faults and a time of 41.21.
Fellers and Flexible executed a tight turn mid-course to shave time off their round, coming home at 37.66 and into first. With the final ride of the day, Morton and Spitfire gave it a shot, but with an early rail and a misstep at the final fence, the pair finished with eight faults.
“I thought the first round was very well done, Alan’s course suited the field,” noted Rich Fellers. “The jump off was a typical jump off – you gotta run, you gotta jump and you gotta leave them up.”
Fellers and Flexible have had a tremendous year, returning just over a week ago from the 2012 London Olympics where they placed 8th overall. In April, the pair was the oldest on the start list for the World Cup finals in the Netherlands, but nevertheless came away with the first USA World Cup victory in 25 years.
“He is, he’s a fantastic horse and I’ve been so lucky to have him,” explained Fellers. “I don’t think I’ll ever find one better than him, but if I did, that would be amazing.”
Fellers finished second with Colgan Cruise, who just may be that next horse. The mare shares the same sire as Flexible and has been making strides in the ring that has Fellers feeling optimistic about her future.
“She might be on her way,” he noted. “The Cruising horses are known to be difficult, but she’s really starting to get it.”
While winning the World Cup was a highlight, watching his wife take her own trip around the jump off course was its own thrill for Fellers.
“I was really excited for her when she went clear in the first round,” he said with a smile. “I’d love to see her in the World Cup finals and she’s got a great horse.”
Nassar took third in the class with his Belgian Warmblood, Raging Bull Vangelis S. The pair had one rail mid-course, but delivered a speedy round to stay near the top of the order. At just 21 years of age, Nassar burst onto the international scene this past winter in Wellington, Florida. Having purchased Raging Bull from Great Britain’s Robert Smith, he was aboard him in the Grand Prix ring just a few weeks later – and winning. Hailing from Kuwait, Nassar now rides for his parent’s homeland of Egypt. He qualified for the London Games, but with only one slot for the country, had to watch from the sidelines. If Egypt takes a team to Rio, he plans to be on it.
Visit www.tbird.ca for more information on the Thunderbird Show Park or ‘like’ them on facebook.com/thunderbirdshowpark for all the latest news and updates.
Top Ten - $100,000 Canaccord Genuity World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix
Rider | Horse | Owner | Jumpoff Time | Jumpoff Faults
- Rich Fellers (USA) | Flexible | Harry & Mollie Chapman | 37.66 | 0
- Rich Fellers (USA) | Colgan Cruise | Harry & Mollie Chapman | 39.0 | 0
- Nayel Nassar (EGY) | Raging Bull Vangelis S | Nayel Nassar | 40.64 | 4
- Shelley Fellers (USA) | Revenge | Rich Fellers | 41.21 | 4
- Brian Morton (CAN) | Spitfire | Equimark Inc. | 39.55 | 8
- Lise Gregory (USA) | Crown Princess | Alec Lawler | 87.43 | 1
- Jennifer Crooks (IRL) | S.F. Uryadi | Stella Farm | 81.30 | 4
- Mandy Porter (USA) | Capitol One | My Equine Ventures | 83.63 | 4
- Tiffany Sullivan (USA) | Tristan | Haley Farms LLC | 84.10 | 4
- Cara Anthony (USA) | Woodpecker de Villars | Pot Creek Meadow Farm | 85.06 | 4