Dreams Come True for Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia in $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix at WEC – Ocala

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Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche winning the $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Edited Press Release

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 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. 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.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche flying to first place. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

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.

“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,” said Lead Designer Holowack. “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. The pair laid down a crisp, clean effort to set the pace at 47.223 seconds over the short track.

Sharn Worldey (NZL) was the first athlete to return, piloting 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,” Wordley laughed. “He’s been there and done that with Kristen Vanderveen. He’s 17 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.”

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.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia followed aboard HST Cartouche. Viana Ciavaglia and the 12-year-old Zangersheide stallion were off at the sound of the tone.

“I did six [strides] from [jumps] one to two. I jumped the oxer going very forward and tried to pull to the double, but he resisted, so we ended up getting nine strides,” he explained. “I put a super close distance to the vertical, and he jumped out. He was like turbo and jumped it clean. I tried to do my best to the rest, but he did the job. To the very last, I saw a very far distance and he jumped clear. He’s an amazing horse.”

The pair flew through the timers stopping the clock at an uncatchable 43.043 seconds.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche jumping in stellar form in the WEC Grand Arena. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

“I have had a dream to come to Ocala since I was 17. I had a good friend visit Disney many years ago and told me he went to the small city called Ocala, and since then it was a dream to come here,” Viana Ciavaglia said. “This is my second time in America. I came three years ago to Wellington but always wanted to come here. I have never seen anything like this. If you love horses, you have to come here. It’s incredible for the horses and riders. The courses have been spectacular. I am going back to Brazil a better rider and for sure coming back for the summer circuit. I love this and learned so much.”

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia, Sharn Wordley and Andre Thieme stand atop the podium for the $250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Last year’s winner of the $200,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix, Andre Thieme (GER) was next in the jump-off aboard Paule S (Perigueux x Lassia). Thieme and the nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding were just shy of the winning time in 43.583 seconds, but had one rail down to ultimately secure third place.

“I want to say that course tonight was a dream for every rider. The designers had a lot of material to work with at an absolutely incredible facility, and the way it was done without making it huge or unjumpable, it was perfect,” Thieme said. “I have been to the Olympics, and this feels just like it. The flowers, waterfall, and incredible décor, it makes it so special. There’s a reason I am coming all the way from Germany. This place is unimaginable.”

Dorothy Douglas (USA) and Davenport Farms MTM Pablo (Perigueux x Celina) were the final contenders to attempt the jump-off track, but incurred two rails down along the way to earn fifth place.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche accepting their first-place award presented by Geoffrey Galant, Vice President of MARS Equestrian and Jim Wolf of World Equestrian Center. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Rowan Willis (AUS) and his own Wellington Grey Goose secured the $5,000 fastest four-faulter award with a time of 76.207 seconds with one rail down.

Nicole Walker (CAN) received the ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.

Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia & HST Cartouche making memories at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
Watch the winning jump-off.

$250,000 MARS Equestrian Grand Prix Results:

1 HST Cartouche, Geronimo Marcello Viana Ciavaglia (BRA), Arnoldo Wald Filho: 0 | 0 | 43.043
2 Bull Run’s Risen, Sharn Wordley (NZL), Sharn Wordley: 0 | 0 | 47.223
3 Paule S, Andre Thieme (GER), Andre Thieme: 0 | 4 | 43.583
4 Eve D’ouilly, Cian O’Connor (IRL), Nicole Walker: 0 | 4 | 48.661
5 MTM Pablo, Dorothy Douglas (USA), Davenport Farm: 0 | 8 | 44.476
6 Nabucco Z, Rene Tebbel (UKR), Gut Einhaus, LLC: 3 | 84.050
7 Wellington Grey Goose, Rowan Willis (AUS), Rowan Willis: 4 | 76.207
8 Vick Du Croisy, Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR), Sigma Stables LLC: 4 | 76.225
9 Cristo Beech, Aaron Vale (USA), Alise Carrico & Thinks Like A Horse: 4 | 76.659
10 Sovereign, Lisa Goldman-Smolen (USA), Barbara Disko: 4 | 77.035

Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
Videos available at ClipMyHorse.TV

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