Ocala, Florida, USA – November 09, 2023 – The first Saturday night show jumping competition of the 2023 November & December Show Series started off with a bang, bringing in huge crowds of spectators and exhibitors to revel in the thrill of top-level equestrian sport. Portugal’s Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) had the packed house on their feet at the end of an exhilarating nine-horse jump-off in the $100,000 Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Grand Prix at World Equestrian Center – Ocala.
World-renowned course designer Peter Grant (CAN) set the intricate track where nine pairs jumped clear and represented three different nations over the tie-breaking course.
The chase for the blue was riveting with one rider faster than the next. Aaron Vale (USA) and his seasoned partner Elusive (Rodrigoo x Alouette) owned by Thinkslikeahorse, appeared to have the win in the bag with a blistering fast time of 38.037 seconds, but his lead didn’t hold long.
Kristen Vanderveen (USA) gave Vale a run for his money, knocking just one-tenth of a second off the posted time with Bull Run’s Jireh (Uriko x Conella) in 37.908 seconds.
Hot off his win in Thursday’s $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome Prix, Luis Sabino Gonçalves delivered again. Goncalves already had one try at the short course with his first mount, Scoop De Septon Z, but knew he could take a few more risks with his seasoned partner Vick du Croisy (Lord Carthago x Merveille Ducroisy) owned by Sigma Stables.
“I watched Aaron Vale (USA) and Kristen Vanderveen (USA) go, and they were really fast. I think I took one less stride from one to two. I turned really short back to the skinny. Everyone did eight and eight in the other lines, but you can either have a fast or a slow eight. Vick is so fast across the ground and over the jumps, that’s where I think I had the time,” shared Goncalves about his winning jump-off track.
With a time of 37.139 seconds, Gonçalves added yet another grand prix victory to his list of successes. “I am very happy I won with Vick, but I am so proud of Scoop [Scoop De Septon Z]. He is a bit more inexperienced, so for him to be competitive tonight is really exciting,” expressed Goncalves.
The $5,000 fastest four-faulter award was secured by Rowan Willis (AUS) and his own Billy Guilder with a quick first-round time of 74.163 seconds with one rail down.
Mallory Vale received the ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.
Final Results – $100,000 Coca-Cola Beverages Florida Grand Prix Results:
1) Luis Sabino Gonçalves (POR) & Vick du Croisy, Sigma Stables LLC: 0 | 0 | 37.139
2) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Jireh, Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.: 0 | 0 | 37.908
3) Aaron Vale (USA) & Elusive Thinkslikeahorse: 0 | 0 | 38.037
4) Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) & Scoop de Septon Z, Sigma Stables LLC: 0 | 0 | 39.607
5) Dorothy Douglas (USA) & MTM Pablo, MTM Farm: 0 | 0 | 40.078
6) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Champion League, Daniel Michan: 0 | 3 | 50.088
7) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple, MTM Farm: 0 | 4 | 38.691
8) Megan Wexler (USA) & Chronicle 4, Golden Oaks Farm, LLC: 0 | 4 | 41.305
9) Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Valentine Car, Fernando Cardenas: 0 | RT
10) Rowan Willis (AUS) & Billy Guilder, Rowan Willis: 4 | 74.163
Source: Press Release from World Equestrian Center
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography