OCALA, Fla.--Luis Sabino Goncalves of Portugal dominated the $100,000 Grand Prix, placing first and third at the World Equestrian Center – Ocala on Saturday evening, Jan.28.
Thirty-two riders from 12 different nations competed over a technical first round track designed by Kenny Krome , with 12 clean to go on to the jump-off.
Nine of the 12 in the jump-off were clean again, leaving competitors separated by just one tenth of a second.
Luis Sabino Goncalves was first in the jump-off on Vick Du Croisy, clean in 38.517 seconds to set the pace and eventually place third.
Sharn Worldey of New Zealand on Gatsby was clean in 42.557 seconds to eventually placed sixth..
Rowan Willis of Australia on Wellington Grey Goose was next and finished in 38.680 seconds to eventually place fourth.
Armando Hassey of Mexico on Lomax finished in a fast jump-off time of 38.445 seconds to take over the lead, which held up to place second.
Devin Ryan on Eddie Blue finished in 38.884 for fifth.
GONCALVES returned for his second try at the course on his new mount Bemol Des Champs.
“I have been second and third in the past during the Saturday night grands prix, but I have never won one, so I made that my goal tonight,” said Goncalves.
“Normally, the mare, Vick Du Croisy, is faster, because Bemol Des Champs is just starting to do the bigger classes,” Goncalves said. “I just tried to leave out strides wherever I could, turn short and let him show his quality. He jumped so well tonight, and was a real fighter in the arena.”
Goncalves finished in 37.424 seconds, more than a second faster than Hassey’s time..
“I have just had him for a few months," he said. "He came over from France where he was competing with an amateur in the 1.45m and a few 1.55m. I flew him into LAX in California, and we did a few national shows over there. Then we did the World Cup in Fort Worth, Texas where he was 11th in the CSI4* Grand Prix. I am so proud of him for jumping so well tonight and I am looking forward to our partnership together.”
“That ring is amazing. The organization does such an incredible job taking care of the facilities and the riders," said Goncalves. "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.”