Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – October 10, 2021 – Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita claimed the first FEI Grand Prix win of the 2021 Tryon Fall Series last night at the Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC).
The course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA) was challenged 53 pairs over the first round, with six pairs dashing for cash over the jump-off test. Holloway and the 2011 Westphalian mare (Con Spirit 7 x Come On) owned by the Hays Investment Corp. were first to go in the second round, producing a slick performance that could not be topped. The duo stopped the jump-off timers in 43.951 seconds to secure the win the $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2*.
Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) and Verdi O’Merveilles, the 2009 Selle Français gelding (Verdi TN x Quick Star) owned by Ferasin LTD, posted a time of 47.03 seconds to earn reserve honors.
Securing the final podium spot, Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) navigated the short course in a time of 48.205 seconds with Gabrovo, the 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Grey Top x Graf Sponeck) owned by Susan Van Lammers.
With the victory, Holloway is the first rider to achieve two FEI Grand Prix wins aboard the same horse in 2021, having also dominated in the spring at TIEC. It was also Holloway’s second notable win in two days: she and Ruby Tuesday, the 2011 Oldenburg mare (Icarus “Any Given Sunday” x Manna “S&L SoBeIt) also owned by Hays Investment Corp., championed Friday’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Holloway remarked that while both courses were well suited to her mount, the key to her win was letting Pepita Con Spita take her own run at the obstacles:
“She is quite a horse! She’s very special and loves to win,” Holloway emphasized. “As long as I’m up to the task, she always is. She loves to go fast, so I was just letting her go. [The course] was smooth,” Holloway offered of the track that kept all but three pairs from going double-clear. “There were definitely some difficult places, I thought, but it was all spread out, so the course flowed pretty well. It was well-suited for her, so I was excited about that.”
As the first to attack the jump-off, Holloway’s strategy was to put pressure on subsequent challengers with a clear, fast round, and Pepita Con Spita delivered when offered the chance to kick things into high gear. “She’s always game to go fast, so I just let her rip! She’s super catty, smart and brave, so she’s super dependable in the ring.”
Reflecting on an especially successful weekend in light of her Hunter Derby win, Holloway emphasized that she’s “had a really good summer, honestly. All of the horses have been awesome and firing up really well. We love Tryon,” Holloway concluded, “and love to be here. The barn and the team have been great. It’s all thanks to those back in the barn that we’re able to do this, and do it well in each ring!”
uFinal Results – $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2*.
1) Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita / 2011 Westphalian mare (Con Spirit 7 x Come On) / Hays Investment Corp. – 0 / 0 – 43.951
2) Fabio Leivas da Costa (BRA) & Verdi O’Merveilles / 2009 Selle Français gelding (Verdi TN x Quick Star) / Ferasin LTD. – 0 / 0 – 47.03
3) Roberto Teran Tafur (COL) & Gabrovo / 2012 Hanoverian gelding (Grey Top x Graf Sponeck) / Susan Van Lammers – 0 /0 – 48.205
Source: Press Release by Sarah Madden and Emily Carpenter for TIEC – Tryon International Equestrian Center
Photos: © TIEC / Natalie Suto