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38


Nassar on top


SoCal-based Egyptian rider stars again in HITS Coachella


T


HERMAL—The dust has settled from an ambitious 2018 HITS Desert Circuit,


and the pinnacle prizes once again were pinned on Nayel Nassar, the 27-year-old Southern California-based rider who represents Egypt. Riding the 14-year-old Hanoverian Lordan, Nassar won HITS Coachella’s prestigious pair—the Longines $100,000 FEI on Feb. 11, and the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix March 18—in a prodigious sweep for the record books. “I’m really trying to preserve him as much as I can,” Nassar told reporters aſt er the FEI win. “He’s had a couple of injuries and we have a long year ahead. I’m just stoked to have him and to have him come out so strong. He’s a trier and we know each other well, which helps with the lit le intricacies on course.” In the AIG $1 Million, Nassar


earned $350,000 for the win. Rowan Willis set led for run- ner-up with the 12-year-old Blue Movie, and in third was Paul O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Presence. The top fi ve was rounded out


by Christian Heineking on NKH Caruso in fourth and Erynn Ballard with Fantast in fi ſt h. Since purchasing Lordan eight


years ago, Nassar and Lordan have vied in two FEI World Cup Finals (2014 and 2017) and the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France (for Egypt). They also won a monster check in 2013, when they captured the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in New York. “He programs himself,” Nassar said of his longtime partner. “He knows when the big day is. He senses the atmosphere.” Course designer Mark


McGowan was challenged with the prospect of creating a course that catered to the fresh 1.50-meter horses as well as sea- soned 1.60-meter horses in the 53-entry fi eld. Of the class, six horse-and-rider pairs returned for McGowan’s jump-off course. Going last, Lordan and Nassar entered the stage and brilliantly at acked the course while an overfl ow crowd quietly watched before unleashing an explo- sive roar as Nassar and Lordan jumped the fi nal oxer, looked back only to fi st pump and beam around the entire stadium. “It’s really, really special to


have a partnership like that,” said Nassar, “and I hope we can have a few more years out of him.”


More online: http://bit.ly/804A_HITS


Beezie Madden came west to take home the $35,000 Desert Welcome Stake CSI3*-W class on board Breitling LS, then returned to Ocala and won the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix March 25 on Coach.


2018 AIG $1 Million HITS Grand Prix Top Ten March 18, 2018 • HITS Desert Horse Park, Thermal, Calif.


Pl Horse 1 Lordan


2 Blue Movie


Nassar and Lorden soar over the Longines fence at HITS Coachella to secure their win in the Week IV $100,000 Longines FEI World CupTM Qualifi er CSI3*-W on Feb. 11. Madden and Breitling LS fi nsihed second.


Owner


Nayel Nassar Rowan Willis


NKH Rider


Nayel Nassar Rowan Willis


3 Skara Glen’s Presence Skara Glen Stables Paul O’Shea 4 NKH Caruso 5 Fantast


6 Samson II 7 Akuna Mat ata


8 Garkus Van Het Indihof Theodore Boris 9 Calypso VD Zuuthoeve Laura Hite 10 Cupilor


Sagamore Farms Erynn Ballard Woodacres Stables Zazou Hoff man


Earnings $350,000 $200,000 $120,000


Christian Heineking $100,000 $75,000 $40,000


Silver Raven Farms N. Shahanian-Simpson $30,000 Theodore Boris Laura Hite


Cross Creek Farms Michelle Parker


$20,000 $15,000 $10,000


ESI photo


ESI photo


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