Wellington, Florida, USA – September 03, 2023 – Competition came to a climax on Sunday as 27 horse-and-rider combinations stepped out on the grass Derby Field to compete in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix with Jimmy Buffett playing in the background. The winning pair was New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley (AUS) and Valentine Car, owned by Fernando Cardenas.
“I thought the course was great,” shared Wordley. “The time was a bit fast for younger horses, but there were already 10 clear, and if the time had been slower there would have been 13 or 14 in the jump-off. For riders, where there’s a tight time on the first round, that’s where you must make your best judgement as to the pace you feel that your own horse is comfortable.”
Designing for the International Arena throughout the week, Héctor Loyola (PUR) challenged the riders to a thirteen-jump round, followed by a seven-jump jump-off. Twelve riders managed to complete the first round without knocking any rails, but two of those riders finished just outside the time allowed of 81 seconds to keep them out of the final phase. Wordley tested later in the jump-off round, allowing him to make the best plan for his winning track. Sharn and Valentine Car completed the jump-off fault free, with a time of 41.798 seconds.
Following Wordley’s track was Brazilian rider Gabriel de Matos Machado (BRA) and Evabellie W, owned by Emily Wood, in second place with a double-clear performance and a jump-off time of 41.866 seconds. Completing the podium was Irish native, Dylan Daly (IRL), and Cinderella Z, owned by Jacqueline Steffens Daly, with a fault-free jump-off time of 44.28 seconds.
Wordley shared that he and his winning partner have been together for two years, stating, “He’s 15 now, and he has won a lot of grand prix classes with me over the last two years. He’s very quick footed, so even in a fast jump-off like the one today it’s hard to beat him. He just skims over the jumps.” He continued, “I think we’ll do one more of these shows this summer, and then we’ll start doing FEI classes in the fall. The shows here are great for younger and older horses to help prepare them for bigger classes, so I want to bring them down here once more this year.”
The 2023 Summer Series will take a one week break before resuming with ESP September, which begins September 14, 2023, and is followed by the ESP Florida State Fall show, which will host the Region 10 ASPCA Maclay Championship, THIS NHS Adult Area Championship, and the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Championship. For the full Summer Series Prize List, please click HERE.
Final Results – $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix
1) Sharn Wordley (AUS) & Valentine Car – 0 / 0 – 41.798
2) Gabriel de Matos Machado (BRA) & Evabellie W – 0 / 0 – 42.866
3) Dylan Daly (IRL) & Cinderella Z – 0 / 0 – 44.28
Source: Press Release from Wellington International
Photos: © Wellington International / Cassidy Klein