Mill Spring, North Carolina – July 15, 2023 – Under the lights of the Tryon Stadium at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) & Resort, Nicolas Gamboa (COL) and NKH Mr. Darcy sped to victory in the $78,000 Stuller Power Solutions Grand Prix CSI 2*.
Of 32 entries to challenge the first round of the course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA), eight horse-and-rider pairs produced clear rounds presented by Stuller Power Solutions to proceed to the jump off. Gamboa and Mr. Darcy were the penultimate pair to challenge the short round, edging out the previous fastest time set by trailblazer Grant Seger. The Colombian and the 10-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding (Darco x Chepetto) recorded two clear rounds and marked a jump off time of 38.02 seconds to secure the win.
“He’s just an incredible animal,” Gamboa said of NKH Mr. Darcy. “He’s owned by Neil Knox, and he was brought along very well by his previous rider. I got to ride on him a little bit last year, and he’s been a great horse for me. He’s been a great partner, has been very successful with me, and has really done wonders for me.”
Stopping the jump off timers at 38.42 seconds to earn reserve honors was Grant Seger (USA) and Frieda (Balou Du Rouet x Canturo), his own 2012 Oldenburg mare.
Sean Jobin (CAN) and Coquelicot VH Heuvelland Z (Catoki x Cassini II), Foxridge Farms Stables’ 2012 Zangersheide stallion, earned third with a time of 39.99 seconds.
Gamboa remarked that this win with the 2013 Holsteiner gelding breaks a streak of underwhelming results. “To be honest, I was in a little bit of a rut the last couple of weeks, so this win for sure helped,” the Colombian rider explained. “This horse has always won. I can truly count on him – he’s always been there for me, and he really showed me tonight what he can do.”
Despite Saturday night’s brief weather delay in the first round of competition, Gamboa noted that NKH Mr. Darcy was unfazed. “We were fully warmed up and about to walk into the ring before the storm break. He sat there for thirty minutes, then he jumped a couple jumps, and went in the ring. Your plan changes a lot when your horse has to sit, but he came out, and it just shows you how good of a horse he is. He wasn’t affected at all in the rain and the thunder.”
After changes of plan in the preliminary round of the Grand Prix, Gamboa had a simple strategy for the jump off: be smooth. “Smooth is usually quick, so [I wanted to] go smooth, and keep it cool,” he detailed.
After several years away from competing in North Carolina, Gamboa has celebrated a successful week with his equine partners at Tryon International. “I haven’t been to the Tryon region in over ten years. I grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, so this is kind of my neck of the woods. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, so it’s a good welcome back.”
Final Results – $78,000 Stuller Power Solutions Grand Prix CSI 2* – 1.45
1) Nicolas Gamboa (COL) & NKH MR. Darcy – 0 / 0 – 38.02
2) Grant Seger (USA) & Frieda – 0 / 0 – 38.42
3) Sean Jobin (CAN) & Coquelicot VH Heuvelland Z – 0 / 0 – 39.99
Source: Press Release from Tryon International Equestrian Center
Photos: © TIEC / Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography / Rette Solomon for Tryon International