Ocala, Florida, USA – July 29, 2023 – As the storm clouds vanished over the WEC Grand Arena, 32 elite show jumpers representing 13 nations gathered to contest the $100,000 Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Grand Prix. Tonight’s jump-off was blistering, with first and second place separated by just two hundredths of a second, but it was Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) that experienced an enjoyable case of déjà vu with Vick du Croisy (Lord Carthago x Merveille Ducroisy) after the pair secured their second consecutive 2023 Ocala Summer Series grand prix victory.
An even eight competitors from New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, Ireland, Columbia and Israel managed to answer all of Catsy Cruz’s (MEX) first round track questions to qualify for the jump-off.
Sharn Wordley (NZL) set the pace at a quick and clear 39.364 seconds with Valentine Car. Marcello Ciavaglia (BRA) and HST Cartouche gave the track everything they had, but had a heartbreaking rail at the final fence. Will Simpson (USA) and Chacco P also had one unlucky trail to keep them out of the top three.
Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) was determined to get everything back on track with Sigma Stables LLC’s Vick du Croisy. “All of the riders in the warmup ring were discussing whether the first line was a seven or an eight. It walked a long seven, but this was the second time I rode after a big storm blew through and I found that the ground gets even more amazing than it already is after a big storm. The horses reach easier, and they go even faster,” shared Goncalves.
“The seven ended up being easy because the ground allowed the horses to open up. After I turned short to the double, I galloped to the oxer. My mare is a perfectionist turning right, just like she did last weekend, and we caught it going. Then I went as fast as I could to the last two,” said Goncalves.
The pair soared through the timers in 38.267 seconds to ultimately gallop away with top honors once again.
Thursday’s Welcome Prix winner Tracy Fenney (USA) was right on his heels aboard the infamous MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Kong’s Whopsie). Fenney and the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare were just shy by two hundredths of a second in 38.293 seconds to slide into second.
Tom Foley (IRL) and Juan Pablo Gnecco (COL) both put in solid performances but weren’t quick enough bump anyone from the top.
Alberto Michan (ISR) was the last athlete to attempt the short track and he came in blazing with the nine-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding Itchcock des Dames (Marius Claudius x Unite Des Dames). The pair posted a time of 39.087 seconds to round out the podium.
Winner of the class Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) complimented World Equestrian Center – Ocala after his win, “This facility is incredible, and this ring is unbelievable. The rings are constantly changing. The moved the lakes and the jumps are new each day, it feels like a different arena. That mare particularly hates a routine – same arena, same jumps and same decoration. She gets bored. But here, they switch out and move everything so often, it feels like a new show each week.”
Dorothy Douglas (USA) and MTM Pablo received the fastest four-faulter award of $5,000 with a quick time of 73.471 seconds with one rail down.
Andrea Hassey (MEX) received the ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.
Final Results – $100,000 Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Grand Prix
1) Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) & Vick du Croisy, Sigma Stables LLC: 0 | 0 | 38.267
2) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple, MTM Farm: 0 | 0 | 38.293
3) Alberto Michan (ISR) & Itchcock des Dames, Marco Zamudio: 0 | 0 | 39.087
4) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Valentine Car, Fernando Cardenas: 0 | 0 | 39.364
5) Tom Foley (IRL) & Idalgo, Sher Al Farm: 0 | 0 | 42.461
6) Marcello Ciavaglia (BRA) & HST Cartouche, Arnoldo Walk Filho: 0 | 4 | 39.615
7) Will Simpson (USA) & Chacco P, Will Simpson Stables Inc.: 0 | 4 | 40.052
8) Juan Pablo Gnecco (COL) & Habab-W, Caroline Amplatz: 0 | 4 | 45.557
9) Alberto Michan (ISR) & Champion League, Daniel Michan: 1 | 77.313
10) Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Pablo, MTM Farm: 4 | 73.471
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography