Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – October 18, 2023 – Nayel Nassar (EGY) and longtime mount Coronado were the sole horse-and-rider pair to go double clear in Tryon Stadium as part of Saturday Night Lights presented by Tryon Horse & Home.
Forty-seven entries traversed the Peter Grant (CAN) course design in the first round, with only four clear rounds presented by Stuller Power Solutions earning the chance to dash for the cash in the jump off. Nassar was the trailblazer with the 2009 Holsteiner gelding (San Patrignano Cassini x Accord II) owned by Evergate Stables, and chose to focus on a clear round that others would have to beat to win.
The dynamic duo claimed the jackpot in the CHF $328,000 Land Rover Asheville Grand Prix CSI 4* in a time of 45.24 seconds.
The strategy paid off, Nassar recapped: “I did get caught, but they knocked some jumps down. The jump off suited me in a way, but sometimes he can be a little difficult to turn, so going first we just wanted to leave the jumps up, and then let the chips fall as they may.”
Nassar knows his horse “inside and out,” choosing to aim him at specific classes where they can succeed together. “Coronado has had an unbelievable year. We try to use him sparingly, since he’s 14 now. I feel like I know him inside out and we can kind of target the right classes for us.”
The formidable track caught contestants with time and rails spread throughout the course, which he thought really ramped up halfway through, he analyzed. “When I walked the course, I thought it was a lot of jumping. It was 14 efforts, with big combinations. I thought the course really started at the triple, and then the wall out of the corner with a very short distance to a scopey double, then a very long five to a skinny followed by a very delicate plank.”
Dropping one rail and posting a time of 43.45 seconds, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Imerald Van’t Voorhof, the 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Emerald x Bacardi Orange de Muze) owned by Imerald Partners LLC, rode to reserve honors.
Also on four penalty-points and stopping the timers in 44.03 seconds, Erynn Ballard (CAN) took third place aboard Gakhir, Ilan Ferder’s 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Spartacus TN x Labor’s VDL Indorado).
Though no stranger to the Major League Show Jumping circuit or the highest levels of competition, Nassar admitted that he is a first-time competitor at Tryon International:
“This is my first time here, actually, so this is a great start. The place is fantastic. I mean, it’s wonderful for the horses, the footing is great. I really like the Saturday Night Lights atmosphere, and the horses really seem to thrive here. I’m happy to be here, and I’ll be back!”
For Nassar, the win also serves as a testament to his team and the hard work they put in year-round, he concluded. “I want to thank my team, really. It’s been a long year, we’ve been on the road a lot, and the horses have been jumping a lot. So, it’s great to pick up these sorts of results. Evergate Stables does everything, from top to bottom, and we don’t leave any stone unturned, so it’s nice to see the results pay off for all the hard work all the guys put in.”
Final Results – CHF $328,000 Land Rover Asheville Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Coronado – 0 / 0 – 45.24
2) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Imerald Van’t Voorhof – 0 / 4 – 43.45
3) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Gakhir – 0 / 4 – 44.03
Source: Press Release Sarah Madden for Tryon International
Photos: © Natalie Suto Photography Karli Dannewitz / Sarah Sturgis / Kristin Anchors
Categories: Jumper News Africa