Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche winning the $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche winning the $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix. 

The $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix was the highly anticipated finale of the 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Spectators near and far flocked to the WEC Grand Arena to watch 42 of the world’s best show jumping athletes representing 12 nations battle it out for the lion’s share of the prize money. Only five combinations advanced to the jump-off and in the end, it was Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia (BRA) and HST Cartouche (Carthoes B Z x ADC Chantilly Z) owned by Arnoldo Wald Filho who earned sweet victory.

Kevin Holowack (CAN), Bobby Murphy (USA), Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) and Chris Barnard (USA) laid the stunning tracks for Saturday evening’s class which included a whimsical tea garden, a waterfall and the iconic M&Ms characters. Lead designer, Kevin Holowack spoke about the final course of the 12-week circuit, “This build started months ago between the team. We designed jumps specifically for this class. We have been tweaking and working on the track itself for a long time. Every jump came down and each part of the course had a different challenge. I think we saw some great rounds and had the best rise to the top.”

Five elite athletes representing New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, Germany and the United States managed to find the path to a clear first round to qualify for the jump-off.

Sharn Worldey (NZL) was the first athlete to return. Wordley piloted his brand-new partner Bull Run’s Risen (Utopie x Indoctro). “It’s an extremely new partnership. I have been riding him for a week, we bought him last Thursday,” laughed Wordley. “He’s been there and done that with Kristen Vanderveen. He’s seventeen now, but I have never owned a horse with that much scope and stride. I didn’t have high expectations tonight, and now I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Wordley and the 17-year-old KWPN gelding laid down a crisp, clean effort to set the pace at 47.223 seconds.

Cian O’Connor (IRL) descended down the ramp next aboard Nicole Walker’s Eve D’ouilly (Qlassic Bois Margot x Poor Tefnout D’ouilly). The pair were quick, but had one unfortunate rail in 48.661 seconds.

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Dreams Come True for Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche in the $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix – World Equestrian Center