James Chawke’s Luck Runs Strong in $10,000 Voltaire Design Welcome Speed
Anyone watching Wednesday’s $10,000 Voltaire Design 1.35m Welcome Speed to open Desert Circuit VII felt a bit of déjà vu as James Chawke and Gamble took their second consecutive victory in the weekly class at Desert International Horse Park (DIHP).
Over Joey Rycroft’s single-round track, Chawke and his 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Campbell VDL x Quick Star) sped to an unbeatable time of 59.018 seconds, claiming the ultimate win by over two seconds.
Chawke and Gamble have placed some winning bets recently, taking victory in the same class during Desert Circuit VI and in the $30,000 1.40m Open Classic the same week. His strategy for progressing the horse is working perfectly to plan.
“I got here week two with him and did him in the Welcome Speed,” Chawke, Irish-born but resident of Calgary, AB, said. “I’ve done it every week since. My plan was to do it this way. He knows the ring quite well and he’s done a good few rounds. He’s pretty relaxed here. I’ll do [this class] next week. I probably will do a couple of classes the last week. He gets a big break after [Desert Circuit], so if he’s happy and going like this we’ll do it.”
Coming in second and third places was Erin Davis-Heineking with the October Hill Farm Inc.-owned Contan and October Hill Sales Ltd’s NKH Cento Blue, respectively, as the second and third fastest times of the 12 clear rounds.
Chawke has spent all of Desert Circuit working alongside Conor Swail, and the improvement in Gamble is apparent, moving from a few second and third placings into the top spot recently. The week off served Gamble well, continuing his winning streak from the most recent week of competition at DIHP.
“When he knows somewhere, he’s happy,” Chawke said of Gamble’s performance in the desert. “I’ve been here so much now. It’s great here; you can come on a Tuesday and do a clear round to get in the ring. I think he knows the ring so well, so he’s happy with it.”
James Chawke’s Luck Runs Strong in $10,000 Voltaire Design Welcome Speed – Desert International Horse Park (deserthorsepark.com)