Ocala, Florida, USA – August 13, 2023 – The grand finale of the 2023 Ocala Summer Series came to an exhilarating close as 45 of the world’s best show jumping athletes from 12 nations suited up to compete in the $100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix. Crowd favorites Tracy Fenney (USA) and MTM Apple once again claimed victory, bringing a packed house of spectators to their feet to celebrate a well-deserved victory.
World renowned course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) laid the intricate tracks for the final summer circuit Saturday night grand prix where a tight time allowed challenged riders to optimize their strategies and choose the most direct route over a course that tested adjustability and speed.
Eleven athletes representing Brazil, United States, New Zealand, Columbia, Spain and Ireland managed to answer all of the questions in the first round to return for the jump-off.
The $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix winner of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, Marcello Ciavaglia (BRA) set the pace at 42.799 seconds with the talented 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion HST Cartouche (Carthoes B Z x ADC Chantilly Z) owned by Arnoldo Wald Filho.
Another clean round wasn’t seen until Tracy Fenney (USA) entered the ring with MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Kong’s Whopsie) owned by MTM Farm.
“Everyone had done nine or ten from one to two, so I knew I could do the leave out there for sure. Turning back after the double was going to be tricky, but she whipped right around. When we walked the last line, we all thought eight was going to be long, but I landed and saw the seven. I knew Mike [McCormick] was going to kill me if I tried the seven, so I waited and hoped she would pat the ground and keep it up and of course she did.”
The pair flew over the last oxer stopping the clock nearly three seconds faster than second place in 40.126 seconds, a clean time no other competitor could catch.
Fenney had a blast jumping the courses on Saturday night, “Guilherme does an incredible job. There were jumps down in different spots. It just shows how good of a designer he is. There wasn’t a bogey jump, almost every fence came down. When we were walking the course Mike was raving about it. The jump off was so fun because there were rollbacks, leave outs and different angles. He threw everything out there.”
MTM Apple is a crowd favorite at World Equestrian Center – Ocala and the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare loves the Saturday night class according to Fenney, “Apple just loves it out there. The Saturday night grand prix under the lights is amazing. It’s a whole different gear for the horses. They just come into their own and get excited. Every time we do the victory gallop, she gets so wound up. She bucks, plays and just loves it. We call it Disneyland for horses. It’s absolutely an incredible place to show.”
Third place honors were secured by Gonzalo Busca (ESP) and Liliane Stransky’s Classified (Je T’aime Flamenco x Larissa II) with a clean round and a time of 43.110 seconds, just shy of second place.
Lauren Balcomb & Verdini D’houtveld Z snagged the $5,000 Fastest Four-Faulter award with a super quick first round in 71.031 seconds with one rail down.
Lawson Whitaker received the ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.
Final Results – $100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix
1) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple, MTM Farm: 0 | 0 | 40.126
2) Marcello Ciavaglia (BRA) & HST Cartouche, Arnoldo Walk Filho: 0 | 0 | 42.799
3) Gonzalo Busca (ESP) & Classified, Liliane Stransky: 0 | 0 | 43.110
4) Hayley Waters Wear (USA) & Over Lux, Hayley Waters Wear: 0 | 0 | 45.744
5) Juan Pablo Gnecco (COL) & Habab-W, Caroline Amplatz: 0 | 0 | 46.272
6) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Valentine Car, Fernando Cardenas: 0 | 4 | 39.812
7) Megan Wexler (USA) & Chronicle 4, Golden Oaks Farm, LLC: 0 | 4 | 42.101
8) Tom Foley (IRL) & Idalgo, Sher Al Farm: 0 | 4 | 42.883
9) Tom Foley (IRL) & Constantin De Hus, Sigma Stables LLC: 0 | 4 | 44.537
10) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Mick Jagger, Della Wordley: 0 | 4 | 45.100
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography