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Rich Fellers and Flexible win the $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier

THERMAL, CA (March 8, 2008)—Rich Fellers and his mount Flexible have the competition seeing triple as the pair won their third $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan on Friday night at HITS Thermal.

The pair have won three out the four FEI World Cup Qualifiers at HITS Thermal and continue to climb the ladder in the FEI U.S. West Coast League Standings. "We pulled off the Oregon Hat Trick," said Fellers. "He loves to jump. He is a smart horse but sometimes he jumps so high I think he is borderline crazy."

Harry and Molly Chapman have owned the Irish stallion for eight years. He had some medical problems and was out of action for a while. "It's an incredible feeling," said Fellers. "This horse is for real. I am very thankful that Mr. and Mrs. Chapman stuck with him."

Fellers got the best of five combinations in the jump-off to secure $15,000 in first-place prize money. "It's just not fair," joked Chris Pratt. "That horse is made to jump!"

First to go in the jump-off were Macella O'Neill and her mount Incandescent. The pair had an unlucky rail midway through the round to finish in fourth place for owner Melanie Rapp. Fellers and Flexible were next to compete and went clear setting the Great American Time to Beat at 40.71.

Richard Spooner and his mount Apache were third in the order and they had the time beat, but a light rub on the final hurdle of the jump-off resulted in four faults and a second-place finish. "We rubbed that same fence in the first round and I was lucky, it stayed up," said Spooner. "I knew in the jump-off our luck was about to run out."

Fourth in the jump-off order were Chris Pratt and Lou Bega. Pratt had the ride for Jill Humphrey who is nursing a sore back. The pair had eight faults and finished fifth place. "Lou Bega is a fantastic horse," said Pratt. "If we had known each other more I think we would have done better in the jump-off."

Spooner returned aboard Ace, his second mount of the jump-off. On the jump-off's final trip, he knocked a rail down on the round's second obstacle to land in third place. He was also eighth aboard Cristallo. After the class, Spooner expressed how pleased he was about HITS' effort to hold the class on Friday night inside its new covered arena. "I think it's great," added Spooner. "I love to do something different. The crowd really gets involved and it makes for a special night."

With the victory, Fellers moves into second place in the standings of the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, March 16 during the all new Championship Week at HITS Thermal. The top 30 pairs based on prize money won on the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit will be invited to compete in the class.

Competition at HITS Thermal continues all weekend and features the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday, March 9.

HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com

PHOTO: ©Flying Horse Photography: Rich Fellers and Flexible win $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan at HITS Thermal.


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