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Jeffery Welles Takes First and Third Place at HITS-on-the-Hudson Thursday Grand Prix

Saugerties, New York – July 20, 2006 – Jeffery Welles ran away with the blue and yellow ribbons at Thursday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix. His first place win was with Armani and third place was with Sampras.

Welles, of Ridgefield, Conn., tore through the seven-fence jump-off course to beat out second-place finishers Darragh Kerins and Hot Wheels. Riding last in a crowded field of 10 competitors, Welles and Armani cleared the jump-off course with a time of 40.279 seconds. Kerins and Hot Wheels finished clear with a time of 42.034. The time allowed was 58 seconds.

With Sampras, Welles went clear with a time of 42.265. While Welles said it was nice having a chance to ride the course with Sampras before coming through the gate with Armani, it didn’t affect the strategy of his second ride.

“These are two very different horses,” Welles said. “So I always take a different approach with each.”

Sampras is a 9-year-old Hosteiner gelding owned by Abigail Wexner and Armani is an 11-year-old Selle Francais-Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Kimmel Yeager Equine LLC and Triton Ventures.

“Sampras is small and quick but with a huge gallop. So with him I put in one last stride in the last line of the course,” Welles said.

Armani, on the other hand, is big and bold with enormous scope.

“So on the third element, that double oxer, I was able to make a sharper turn into the jump knowing he could still make it,” Welles said. “What I tried to do with Armani was just ride smoothly.”

And it paid off. The first-place win earned $7,500. Welles’ third-place finish with Sampras was worth $3,250. For second place, Kerins received $5,500.

The afternoon Grand Prix began with 29 riders negotiating the course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr., of Germany, with a time allowed of 92 second that was soon lowered to 90. Of the 10 riders who went clear to make the jump-off, five sailed through without faults, making speed the key to victory. But despite going last and knowing he had to beat Kerins’ fast time to win, Welles said he felt no stress.

He had confidence in Armani, with whom he qualified as an alternate for the U.S. Show Jumping team for the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games, and Welles said every jump-off is about time, whether it’s beating another rider or simply beating the clock.

“You’ve always got a time to beat,” he said. “Only if everyone has faults can you go a bit slower, but then you’ve still got to think about the time.”

The Thursday Grand Prix was part of HITS-on-the-Hudson IV, which began July 19 and runs through Sunday, July 23. The $10,000 Brookledge Welcome Grand Prix was held on opening day, July 19. In that competition, Kevin Babington and Candaletto 4, owned by Kindle Hill Farm, finished first, followed by Brianne Goutal and Casar (DE), owned by Cloverleaf Farm, in second. Margie Engle and Calippo 12, owned by Wyndhurst Stables, took third place.

PHOTO CREDIT: – Jeffery Welles and Armani won the $25,000 Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson IV. Photo Credit – © 2006 by Lynndee Kemmet

This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com for more information.


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