Mill Spring, N.C. – Oct. 19, 2019 – Saturday at Tryon International Equestrian Center welcomed the venue’s biggest event of the year, the $384,000 Gary Sinise Foundation Grand Prix CSI5*, for the fifth week of the fall series. The anticipation of inclement weather moved up the starting time and although the event was not held under the lights as anticipated, athletes provided no shortage of excitement in the jump-off where each rider improved upon the previous, ultimately saving the best for last when McLain Ward (USA) rode his own, Bob Russell and Marilla Van Beuren’s Noche de Ronda to the fastest time of 32.837 seconds to capture the victory.
The first-round 1.60m track designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA) consisted of 16 jumping efforts featuring a triple bar to a double combination (vertical-vertical), in addition to a triple combination (oxer-vertical-oxer). The starting list of the 50 qualified horse-and-rider combinations was whittled down to twelve pairs that would return to contest the jump-off round.
Rachel Cornacchia (CAN) set the standard as the first to challenge the second round, producing a double-clear effort. She was followed with additional clear rounds from Lillie Keenan (USA), Capt Brian Cournane (IRL), Vanessa Mannix (CAN), and David Blake (IRL). Kristen Vanderveen (USA) followed with Bull Run’s Risen, improving on the leading time by two seconds and setting a blistering time to beat of 33.68 seconds.
Vanderveen’s time held her at the top through Kent Farrington (USA) and Daniel Coyle (IRL), but Mexico’s Eugenio Garza entered with a mission to change that. His time with El Milagro’s Armani SL Z would prove even faster as the pair flew to a clear effort in 32.994 seconds with just one final rider remaining. Not to be outdone, Ward inched ahead with Noche de Ronda on a final time of 32.837 seconds to best the competition.
Ward only just began riding Noche de Ronda at the beginning of 2019, but the pair already share an impressive resume together with wins in Old Salem and Upperville, as well as three CSI5* wins in Spruce Meadows, Aachen and Dublin.
Competition will conclude Sunday, highlighting the $72,000 Sunday 1.50m Classic CSI5* beginning at 1:00 p.m. FEI competition will resume at the Tryon International Equestrian Center October 22-27 for the final week of the fall series featuring a CSI2* rating.
$384,000 Gary Sinise Foundation Grand Prix CSI5*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Noche De Ronda / McLain Ward / USA / 0 | 78.35 / 0 | 32.837
2. Armani SL Z / Eugenio Garza / MEX / 0 | 76.78 / 0 | 32.994
3. Bull Run’s Risen / Kristen Vanderveen / USA / 0 | 81.23 / 0 | 33.68
4. Farrel / Daniel Coyle / IRL / 0 | 79.45 / 0 | 35.262
5. Armik / Capt Brian Cournane / IRL / 0 | 79.32 / 0 | 35.33
6. Valkyrie De Talma / Rachel Cornacchia / CAN / 0 | 78.9 / 0 | 35.59
7. Keoki / David Blake / IRL / 0 | 81.92 / 0 | 36.66
8. Skyhorse / Lillie Keenan / USA / 0 | 80.95 / 0 | 37.78
9. Grand Cru Vd Vijf Eiken / Vanessa Mannix / CAN / 0 | 79.72 / 0 | 39.11
10. Gazelle / Kent Farrington / USA / 0 | 78.41 / 4 | 35.807
11. Count Me In / Beth Underhill / CAN / 0 | 78.17 / 4 | 37.36
12. Igor Van De Heibos / Tracy Fenney / USA / 0 | 79.03 / 4 | 37.6