Course designer William "Buddy" Brown started to get nervous mid-way through the $50,000 King Shavings Grand Prix held during Week 5 of the HITS Indio Desert Circuit. "I built what I needed to build, and Richard Spooner and Robinson proved it was a jumpable course when they went first. Richard just left a stride out at the last jump and had the rail, but no one else did that the rest of the class."
Twenty-second in the thirty-eight horse class, Gail Greenough gave Kilkenny Jasco a flawless ride around Brown's course. She was technically accurate and the Dutch stallion jumped beautifully. The crowd went wild when Greenough galloped through the timers and all the rails were in their cups. "Gail stayed very calm on her ride to the last fence," commented Brown after today's class. "I know when I was riding the adrenalin would start at my feet, shoot up through my back and up to my head to where I thought my helmet would fly off. So many riders, when they are coming home clean to the last fence, don't know whether to pull or kick. Gail stayed really cool."
Many tried, but none could duplicate Greenough's effort. "A lot of riders with four faults were unlucky," said Greenough after leading the victory gallop. "This course was a little bigger than we have been jumping and it was scopier, but Buddy built a very nice route. I think one of the difficult parts was the triple combination late in the course. It was tough having that at the end, and the liverpool before it caused problems for a lot of riders. I was lucky because my strategy was to sneak Jasco over the liverpool and it set me up to jump the triple. He was very rideable."
Greenough, who won the 1986 World Championship title aboard Mr. T, is a Canadian, but for the past year she has been based in Bend, OR working for Kilkenny Crest. Kilkenny Jasco is by the Dutch stallion Vasco who died before producing many progeny. "A lot of people tell me I am lucky to have a Vasco-sired horse, and he is a stallion," said Greenough of Kilkenny Jasco.
Dick Carvin was one of the dozen four fault rounds aboard his horse Kennedy. The horse is a relative newcomer to the Grand Prix ring. "I am just thrilled with how he went today," said Carvin. "I had four faults coming out of the triple combination and it felt like he just stuck a little."
Ragan Roberts, last to go in the class, had the final chance to make Greenough jump off, but a rail at fence 9 with Bravo Delta ensured the victory for Greenough. Roberts, a regular on the Grand Prix tour felt Brown designed an appropriate and challenging course. "This was the biggest course we've jumped during the Circuit," said Roberts. "Buddy used a lot of tricks. The course was big, it was technical, and he used a lot of visual tricks, like color and a negative edge to the liverpool." After the Indio Desert Circuit, Roberts is heading to the AGA Championships and hopes to make his first visit to Spruce Meadows.
Many leading Grand Prix riders start their year at the Indio Desert Circuit where they are assured of top course designers and enticing prize money.
For Agate Records:
Place/ Horse/ Rider/ Owner/ Faults - Time/ Prize Money
1st Kilkenny Jasco/
Gail Greenough/ Kilkenny Crest/ 0/-- / $15,000