Nick Haness Goes Two-for-Two in $50,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby
If you’re feeling a bit of déjà vu from the most recent International Hunter Derby during Desert Circuit V, you’re not alone. On Friday of Desert Circuit VIII, Nick Haness piloted Estimated Prophet, owned by Roaring Fork Farms LLC, to a repeat win in the $50,000 Butet USHJA International Hunter Derby, this time in the Grand Prix Arena.
“My strategy was to be bold and brilliant,” Haness commented on his handy round. “It’s always something I strive for in the handy round so I wanted to go in and show off that horse. He’s a brilliant jumper, he’s very handy. Being that I was in the lead I didn’t let that slow me down; I still pressured him and made all the tighter turns.”
Haness set the standard early in the first round of Skip Bailey’s track with a score of 191 from the two panels of judges, taking the class lead going into the handy round.
“When you’re on top, sometimes you can just play it safe,” Haness remarked. “Today that wasn’t my philosophy; I really wanted to go in and win. We’re gearing up for [USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships] this summer so I felt I needed to practice being handy and bold. Now is the time to figure him out and see what he can handle.”
Haness and Estimated Prophet finished the handy round with a total score of 383 to take the win. He also finished in second place with Dalmore, owned by Kenilworth Sport Horses LLC, with a total score of 378. Dustin Goodwin and Out Of The Blue, owned by Ellen Brown, earned a score of 369 to take third place.
It’s no secret that Estimated Prophet is filled to the brim with talent, and with Haness in the irons they are proving to be an unbeatable pair in hunter derby action.
“Estimated Prophet is such a natural athlete,” Haness said of the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cornet Obolensky x Argentinus). “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse to ride. He’s truly in his own league. He just has that natural instinct in him. With a jumper background makes me feel confident going into these classes with bigger jumps. He sights in on the jumps and he’s all game. Riding him is very dreamy.”