Sharn Wordley and Valentine Car Cruise to Victory in $100,000 Purina Grand Prix at HITS Ocala
An international lineup led the leaderboard during Sunday’s $100,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix at HITS Ocala. New Zeland’s Sharn Wordley piloted Valentine Car to victory, besting a 10-horse jump-off with his speedy partner. Australia’s Rowan Willis was just a second behind them with Primo Troy to earn the red rosette, while Canada’s Paul Halpern placed third with Esra.
“Valentine Car is a fantastic horse,” smiled Wordley after his win. “He’s won a lot of FEI classes and a bunch of good grand prixs with me. He’s kind of a quirky ride, but he’s consistent and he’s very fast. When you get him to jump off, he’s right there.”
Wordley added, “He’s cocky and cheeky. I’ve fallen off him twice this month already. He spooks and spins and carries on like he’s 4 years old, but when he gets in the jump-off, he is all business.”
The opening course, designed by Jaime Morillo, featured a wide triple bar, an oxer-vertical double combination, and a final line that began with a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination bending to the last liverpool vertical. Ten advanced to the tiebreaker, which included the first part of the triple combination and the liverpool, before riders galloped home over the last bending line.
Germany’s Andre Thieme was the first to post a second clear round with Candid 14, setting the Great American time to beat at 38.784 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place. Willis and Primo Troy were soon able best Thieme, crossing the finish line with two seconds to spare in a clear 36.345 seconds. However,their lead would not hold for long with Wordley next in the ring.