Edited Press Release
The penultimate day of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit’s fourth week of competition featured a slew of elite hunter, jumper, and equitation classes across all rings at the HITS Post Time Farm. Top-tier grand prix riders put an extra shine to their boots as they made their final preparations for the featured event in the form of the $75,000 Farmvet Grand Prix. As he has done many times before, Australia’s Sharn Wordley flew across his Wordley-Martin footing to find his way to the top of the podium with North Face Farm’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stolzenberg), Hagelin.
Two dozen combinations contested over Martin Otto’s (GER) first round course but only six of those duos found their way to a fault-free finish to advance to the jump off. Wordley brought forward a total of three mounts for the class and cleared the first round with both Hagelin and Brin D’or de Haute Melen Z, giving himself a good shot at the victory.
“Hagelin is extremely fast so I did one less stride than everyone else from fences two to three on the rollback,” detailed Wordley. “He’s very efficient in the air and quick off the ground, but this was his first grand prix.”
While the result placed Hagelin up there with the best of the best, Wordley wasn’t entirely sure of the outcome at the class’s beginning phases.
“He was a little cheeky there when we started,” he laughed. “We went through the flags five seconds after the timer had started, so I had to jump the first round like a Table A just to squeak into the time allowed. I was really lucky.
“I’ve got the best string of horses I’ve ever had in my life,” he continued. “Better late than never!”
André Thieme (GER) ticked just over a second onto Wordley’s winning time of 43.43 seconds as he piloted his own 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (Cellestial), Candid 14, into the reserve placing. Wordley’s fellow countryman Scott Keach and the Kandor Farm, LLC’s 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Centadel), Cencorinue PS, rounded out the podium on a double-clean effort in 46.37 seconds.
Earlier in the week, young athlete Madison Kondracki continued her winning ways as she once again took the top call in the $15,000 STX Open Speed class aboard her own homebred, E Storm Cat. Kondracki now sits in first on the overall leaderboard by a whopping 21 points. Jumper competition concludes on Sunday, February 11, 2024 with a series of junior and amateur classics as well as the highly anticipated $24,500 Horseflight Open Jumper Classic.