Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – October 21, 2023 – Saturday Night Lights presented by Tryon Horse & Home hosted 60 entries under the lights in Tryon Stadium for the $146,000 Coca-Cola Grand Prix CSI 3*, with Gonzalo Busca Roca (ESP) riding Classified to victory in a time of 38.65 seconds in jump-off competition.
Course designer Oscar Soberon (USA) crafted a winding opening track for the 47 horse-and-rider combinations. Roca and the 2014 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Je T’aime Flamenco x Unknown) were third to test the opening track.
“The first round was quite tough. When we walked the course we were all thinking that it was a tough course. I went early, so I didn’t know how tight the time was going to be, and I just tried to be efficient. I had a good plan for all the lines, and the horse jumped great,” recalled Roca.
In the jump-off, Roca and Classified were once again the pathfinders, and flew through the course without knocking any rails down. “I was first to go with 12 riders in the jump off, and the fastest riders, they were all there,” said Roca. “I tried to go as fast as I could. The first part of the jump-off had more turning than galloping, so I tried to turn as quickly as I could and then I galloped at the end.”
Of the 11 riders that followed, Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) came the closest, while Aaron Vale settled for third to round out the podium. “There were super fast riders all in the same second, so it could have gone one way or the other,” commented Roca.
Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) and Collin, the 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist), sped through the timers in a time of 38.96 seconds to earn reserve honors.
Rounding out the podium, Aaron Vale (USA) and Carissimo 25, the 2013 Holsteiner gelding (Cascadello x Clinton), posted a time of 39.17 seconds for third place. There were 12 clear rounds powered by Stuller Power Solutions in the first round, with seven of those riders also posting double-clear performances.
Following his win, Classified will get a well-deserved break from competition, while Roca will continue competing his other mounts. “Classified is going to leave next week,” said Roca. “He’s going to have three weeks off and then will probably jump the three star in November in Wellington. I’ll jump other horses here next week.”
Roca shared that Tryon has become a staple in his show calendar over the years. “I like coming to Tryon; the experience has been very good. I come a few weeks every year, and I was here this past spring and summer. Every time I come I really like it here, and the horses jump very well.”
Final Results –$146,000 Coca-Cola Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Gonzalo Busca Roca (ESP) & Classified – 0 / 0 – 38.65
2) Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) & Collin – 0 / 0 – 38.96
3) Aaron Vale (USA) & Carissimo 25 – 0 / 0 – 39.17
Source: Press Release Sarah Madden & Hannah Stephens for Tryon International
Photos: © TIEC / Natalie Suto Photography / Sarah Sturgis Karli / Dannewitz