Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – October 8, 2022 – Lauren Balcomb (AUS) took the win in the $75,000 John Deere Greenville Turf & Tractor Grand Prix CSI 2* astride Verdini D’Houtveld Z, owned by Balcomb herself and partner Sharn Wordley, with an impressive time of 39.95 seconds.
Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) course challenged 32 entries, with 13 combinations going clear and advancing to the jump-off. Wordley and Valentine Car had the leading time early on in the class, however Balcomb and the 2011 Zangersheide gelding Verdini D’Houtveld Z (Verdi TN x Caretino 2) were able to beat his time by a small margin.
“I think I was a little bit faster to the combination. I left one stride out, and we were both pretty fast everywhere else.”
Following close behind in second place, Sharn Wordley (NZL) riding Fernando Cardenas’ 2009 Warmblood gelding Valentine Car (Son of Juan Car x Galiani CH) who sped to a time of 40.10 seconds.
David O’Brien (IRL) and Chansonette Farm LLC’s 2012 Oldenburg stallion El Balou Old (Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Balou du Rouet) snagged the third place position with a time of 41.36 seconds.
While Verdini D’Houtveld Z is known on the show circuit as a top show jumper, he actually was bought by Balcomb to do three day eventing: “I’ve owned since he was a six year old. I’ve been jumping him Grand Prix level for a long time now. He was actually a [3-day eventing] horse, that’s what I bought him to be, because I was still eventing. Then I brought him [to America]. He did a few events, and he was jumping so well that I did some show jumping as I was ready to make the change.”
Wordley and Balcomb are familiar faces at TIEC: “We love it here. We’ve been coming here for years. I think it’s a great place for families. These guys put on an amazing show. I mean, to get to compete under these lights, the music, the atmosphere, it’s amazing. Everyone’s really friendly. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
This was a memorable night for Balcomb as she had some very special visitors: “My parents are here visiting from Australia. This is the first competition that they’ve seen me jump the Grand Prix level…They’re here looking after our two babies, we’ve got our 18 month old and six week old baby here.”
Balcomb also took the Marthaler Jewelers’ Leading Lady Award as the highest placed female rider in the Grand Prix. As the winner of this award, Balcomb will take home a 14-karat gold necklace with .33 carat diamonds. “It’s such a great prize,” Balcomb exclaimed, “I was really hoping to win the award tonight!”
Final Results – $75,000 John Deere Greenville Turf & Tractor Grand Prix CSI 2*
1) Lauren Balcomb (AUS) & Verdini D’Houtveld Z – 0 / 0 – 39.95
2) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Valentine Car – 0 / 0 – 40.1
3) David 0′ Brien (IRL) & El Balou Old – 0 / 0 – 41.36
Source: Press Release by Lily Yampolsky for TIEC
Photos: © Natalie Suto for TIEC