Ocala, FL – World Equestrian Center – Ocala hosted another exhilarating week of equestrian sport during week IV of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series. Jelmer Hoekstra (NED) snagged his second consecutive win in the $15,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix, this time under the lights in the WEC Grand Arena aboard Origi Van’t Roosaker. The highlight event of the week, the $100,000 UF Health Grand Prix saw a competitive 12 horse jump-off where Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) emerged victorious aboard Sigma Stables LLC’s Bemol Des Champs. Read on for additional highlights.
Watch Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) and Armando Hassey (MEX) race head-to-head in the $100,000 UF Health Grand Prix during the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala.
Santiago Lambre & The Diamant Rose Z notched the $15,000 Taylor Harris Insurance Services 1.45m Jumper Classic victory.
“I watched Vicente Guillen’s trip and he was fast, but I knew I could be a little quicker in the beginning. So, I was fast through the first half, so I could balance to the double combination, then I went full speed ahead to the last two.”
Portugal’s Luis Sabino Goncalves dominated the $100,000 UF Health Grand Prix, securing first and third place.
“That ring is amazing. The organization does such an incredible job taking care of the facilities and the riders. The jumps are beautiful. You feel like you’re riding at a world championship or the Olympic games. The atmosphere is always so much fun with the crowd and horses always rise to the occasion. They feel confident with the footing and the jumps are always new each week. I love jumping here.”
Back-to-Back wins for Jelmer Hoekstra (NED) in the $15,000 Buckeye Nutrition Futures Prix.
“Origi Van’t Roosaker is a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood. His mentality is unbelievable, and the quality is great. Every time we go into the ring, he’s such a fighter and makes my job easy because he takes you to every jump.”
Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Valentine Car cruised their way to the top in the $15,000 1.40m Jumper Classic with a fast jump-off of 34.775 seconds.
Amanda Steege piloted Cheryl Olsten’s Lafitte De Muze to a second $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby victory after laying down two impressive rounds that scored in the 90s.
“The handy was a bit harder than it seemed. The turn right after the trot was pretty tight. The birch fence was right there when you landed, and then it was a bit tough to get your horse’s eye on the red vertical. Luckily, Lafitte has some experience with that sort of approach and knows what’s coming.”
Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Suede took top honors in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby.
“The inside turn after jump four came up much quicker than I expected on Blue Monday and Suede has a lot more loft to his jump, so I opted to go around. The judges didn’t seem to mind, and I think that was the smoother option. It was a bit of a last-minute decision but worked out nicely.”
Katalena Prusso and Falcon Ridge Stable’s Prado prevailed in the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby with a first round score of 89 and a handy score of 87 for a two-round total of 176.
MTM Hachi gave Tracy Fenney wings in the $24,000 C. Jarvis Insurance Welcome Prix on Thursday afternoon.
“After I watched Addison go and have one down, my plan was to still be efficient to make Dorrie [Dorothy Douglas] have to try and be quick, even though she is my stablemate. I never give a win to anyone, without a fight,” laughed Fenney. “But, when I jumped the first jump and he jumped it so high, I just worked on staying clean, which is fairly easy to do with him.”
Adele Dewar piloted Down To A T owned by David Artos to victory in the $2,000 WEC Ocala Pony Hunter Derby.
Gabriella Rivera and her own Game On captured the blue ribbon in the $3,500 2’6” Non Pro Junior Hunter Derby.
Christina Thomson and Legado Farms, LLC’s Evans Blue landed the $3,500 2’6” Non Pro Amateur Hunter Derby.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
Videos available at ClipMyHorse.TV