Eight countries were represented in tonight’s class with several Olympians vying for the win. One of the first entries to jump a clear first round was Sharn Wordley and his own Gatsby (Simba x Daisy Cruise). Wordley and the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion have earned countless placings in Grand Prix classes across the country and were on form tonight. The duo jumped a clear first round with ease in a time of 73.347 seconds, well within the time allowed of 75 seconds, securing a spot in the jump-off.
Kady Abrahamson and Abrahamson Equestrian’s Any (Aljano x Nina XI) also nabbed a spot in the jump-off. Abrahamson and the 12-year-old Holsteiner mare topped the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m during Week 5 of the World Equestrian Center — Ocala Winter Spectacular 2021 and returned tonight in hopes of another victory. The pair was quick and clear in the first round in 70.369 seconds, signaling that they would be tough competitors on the short course.
The last to secure a return on the short course were Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC’s Bull Run’s Prince Of Peace (Cardenio x P-Comtesse). Vanderveen has been on a roll over the past few weeks, earning two $20,000 Welcome Prix 1.45m wins aboard Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC’s Bull Run’s Divine Fortune (Padinus x Amhilavsca Fortuna) and a $75,000 WEC Grand Prix 1.50m win aboard Bull Run Jumpers Inc’s Bull Run’s Risen (Utopie x Violette). She and Bull Run’s Prince Of Peace took 2nd place in the $20,000 Welcome Prix 1.45m during Week 4 and were hunting for a blue ribbon tonight. Vanderveen and the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding found a clear first round in 72.661 seconds, guaranteeing a chance at the win.
The course was adjusted as nine entries returned for the jump-off. With few opportunities for inside turns, the jump-off was a true head-to-head race with speed determining the winner. Wordley and Gatsby were among the first entries to contest the short course. With one already clear with a quick time, the pair picked up pace. They cleared the second to last fence, then galloped down to the final oxer. The pair raced through the timers at 41.159 seconds, moving into the lead. As they approached the end of the ring a few strides later, Wordley went right as Gasby went left. Gatsby celebrated his way past the crowd back to the ingate without his rider. Sharn was all smiles as he walked back to the ingate with his fans cheering him on.