Israel’s Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141 Dash to $138,600 Saugerties Jumper Classic CSI5* Victory at HITS Saugerties
Ashlee Bond’s five-year partnership with Donatello 141 paid off once again with a victory in Friday’s $138,600 Saugerties Jumper Classic CSI5* as the HITS Championship took center stage at HITS-on-the-Hudson. Leading athletes from around the world have gathered in Saugerties to vie for the winning title in Sunday’s $405,300 Grand Prix CSI5*. Friday’s main event was just a preview of the action to come, and Bond proved she was the best of the best with a blazing fast jump-off aboard Donatello 141 to lead the lap of honor.
“[Donatello 141] knows me, he knows all my buttons and I know all his,” smiled Bond. “He knows what I need before it’s happening. I feel like it gives you such an advantage. There are those special combinations that you just click with a horse. I just know everything he’s thinking and every trick he would have – it just gives you so much more in your toolbox.”
Mark McGowan (GBR) set a welcoming track to greet riders competing in the CSI5* events this week, featuring the $138,600 Saugerties Jumper Classic on Friday afternoon. The course included a wide liverpool oxer, a vertical-vertical double combination and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination as the penultimate test. Twelve advanced to the tiebreaker, where a combination and two tight rollbacks separated the cream, with only six producing another faultless effort.
Gabriela Reutter (CHI) was the pathfinder of the day with Maharees Rock, setting the Great American time to beat at 46.36 seconds when she finished with a clear jump-off. Hunter Holloway (USA) quickly slid ahead of her aboard Pepita Con Spita, breaking the beam in 44.70 seconds. Two rounds later, the speed increased once again as Aaron Vale (USA) and Elusive jumped to the top of the standings in a quick 43.56 seconds.
Bond knew Vale was quick, but she also knew she could use Donatello 141’s natural speed and quick turns to her advantage. She held nothing back when she returned to the ring for the short course and the duo blazed across the finish line in 43.10 seconds, heading straight to the top of the leaderboard. Vale had one last chance to beat Bond, and he gave it his all with Prescott. While they were fast enough to beat Elusive, they were just shy of Donatello 141, clocking in at 43.51 seconds for the second-place prize.