In Week 4 of WEF and in the opening class in the International Arena yesterday, Darragh Kerins (IRL) guided Hot Wheels to victory in the 1.45m Jumpers.
There were 38 entries in the class and they competed over a track designed by Bob Ellis of Great Britain, who will design the courses at this summer's Olympic Games in London. Eleven were able to go clear over the course, and the fastest was Hot Wheels, ridden by Darragh Kerins, who completed his round in 73.883 seconds. Ben Maher (GBR) and Quite Easy 4, owned by Mrs. Phillips, were second in 76.743 seconds, while Debbie Stephens and Centennial Farm's Swagger were third in 80.985 seconds.
Kerins and Hot Wheels, a 1997 Silla Argentino gelding by Liliputiense, have had "quite a long partnership," Kerins said, "for seven or eight years now. He was bred in Argentina and imported by his other owner Miranda Fischer. Since he's been imported he's been with us. He's like part of the family at this stage."
Photo credit: Sportfot Darragh Kerins and Hot Wheels
With a laugh, Kerins noted, "He hasn't grown up a whole lot. He's still very difficult in the barn; he's quite a quirky horse. It's not everybody who can look after him. The same guy has looked after him since we got him, from the beginning."
While he has his quirks, Hot Wheels has been a solid performer in the show ring. "He's been great," Kerins agreed. "He was ridden by Miranda in the amateur-owners and she actually won a few grand prix classes on him. Then I took back the ride in the middle of last summer and he's been great. He's won a couple of grand prixs and was third here in the WEF (Challenge Grand Prix) in week one."
Kerins described, "He fights and he always tries 100%. He's ultra careful. It doesn't matter how fast you run at the jumps, his aim is to leave them up. Then it's easy to ride him."
After a week off to "freshen up a bit," Kerins entered Hot Wheels in today's class to "see where he was at, and he feels good," he said. Kerins decided to go for the speed over the course. "I'd watched a good few go and I thought it was quite beatable. He's very careful and it doesn't bother him to go fast and come out and be the same the next day. I thought I'd give it a shot and it worked out well."
Kerins plans to show Hot Wheels again in Sunday's Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic.
Final Results: $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers Time First Round
1 HOT WHEELS, DARRAGH KERINS, DARRAGH KERINS: 0/73.883
2 QUITE EASY 4, BEN MAHER, MRS. PHILLIPS: 0/76.743
3 SWAGGER, DEBORAH STEPHENS, CENTENNIAL FARM: 0/80.985
4 BELMONT, LAURA KRAUT, BEVERLEY WIDDOWSON: 0/81.934
5 GAME READY, YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE: 0/82.432
6 VICTOR, TIFFANY FOSTER, TORREY PINES & ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/84.233
7 CARLOTTA SINGULAR LA MAGNIFICA, YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE: 0/84.778
8 BELLA DONNA, MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM, EOS SPORT: 0/87.283
9 LANSDOWNE, YANN CANDELE, ARIEL AND SUSAN GRANGE: 0/89.529
10 SASKIA 269, CARA RAETHER, TRELAWNY FARM LLC: 0/89.870
11 TOSCANE, EMILIE MARTINSEN, EMILIE MARTINSEN: 0/90.808
12 BOLERO VAN 'T HEIKE, MATT WILLIAMS, MATT WILLIAMS: 4/76.302