Valentine Car and Sharn Wordley Blazes the Trail in the $100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix at World Equestrian Center – Ocala

Sharn Wordley and Valentine Car in the $100,000 Hampton Green Farm Grand Prix. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Edited Press Release

Ocala, FL – The penultimate Saturday night event of the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series featured the highly anticipated $100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix. It marked a historic occasion as the event took place for the first time under the lights of the WEC Stadium, attracting a group of elite athletes eager to experience the new atmosphere. Ultimately, it was the dynamic partnership of Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Fernando Cardenas’ Valentine Car (Son Of Juan Car x Sofia Car) that emerged victorious, claiming the lion’s share of the prize money.

Under the course design of Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR), an FEI Level IV course designer, 31 horse-and-rider combinations representing 11 nations tackled the challenging tracks. Only five pairs managed to jump fault free in the first round to return for the jump-off.

Sharn Wordley and Valentine Car. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Leading the charge, Sharn Wordley and Valentine Car set a blistering pace. Wordley’s strategy was clear, “I knew I had to go as fast as I could on ‘Valentine’ because Tracy [Fenney] and Aaron [Vale] were behind me and that’s a lethal combination,” laughed Wordley. “I just tried to put a bit of pressure on them.” 

Guiding the 15-year-old American Warmblood gelding flawlessly, Wordley clocked an impressive time of 41.168 seconds, securing the top position on the leaderboard.

Filippo Pignatti and Ideaal Es soaring to second place. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Following attempts to surpass Wordley’s time fell short, with Filippo Pignatti (ITA) opting for a clean round aboard the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Ideaal Es (Ukato x Conway), owned by Take The High Road, LLC, in a time of 46.311 seconds. Aaron Vale chose to retire his mount Cristo Beech, preserving him for another night.

Wordley had one more opportunity for success, this time riding his younger mount Brin D’or De Haute Melen Z (Bamako De Muze x Baloubet De Rouet). “He’s a nine coming 10-year-old, and has only done a few night classes. I just started jumping him a little bit higher, so I took things a bit slow in the jump-off to give him a good experience.” 

Wordley did just that aboard the 2014 Zangersheide gelding, stopping the clock in a clear 48.608 seconds for third place. 

Reflecting on the electrifying atmosphere of the WEC Stadium, Wordley expressed admiration for how the horses thrived in the environment. “The atmosphere here is fantastic. It’s like the horses are showing at a different venue, and it makes a world of difference. I think that’s something that sets this place on a whole different level. It’s already the most amazing place in the world, and this ring makes it even more incredible.”

Sharn Wordley accepting his first-place awards presented by Jolie Burrell and Mary Magee of Hampton Green Farms, alongside Jim Wolf of World Equestrian Center. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Wordley is looking forward to the five-star competition at World Equestrian Center – Ocala next week, where he will compete as an individual athlete for New Zealand. “The riders that are coming here have been everywhere in the world, and I just know they are going to be shocked by just how amazing World Equestrian Center – Ocala is,” he added. “I had a quick peak at the [WEC Grand Arena] and what they are building is going to be incredible. I’ve been to the Olympics and world championships, and they don’t compare to the atmosphere that we are going to have here next week.” 

Dorothy Douglas (USA) secured the fastest four faulter award aboard MTM Pablo with a quick first round time of 71.517 seconds with one rail down.

Sarah Lottis received the ‘Luck of the Draw’ award.

Watch the winning jump-off from the $100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix.

$100,000 Hampton Green Farms Grand Prix Results: 

1 Valentine Car, Sharn Wordley (NZL), Fernando Cardenas: 0 | 0 | 41.168
2 Ideaal Es, Filippo Pignatti (ITA), Take The High Road, LLC: 0 | 0 | 46.311
3 Brin D’or De Haute Melen Z, Sharn Wordley (NZL), Della Wordley: 0 | 0 | 48.608
4 MTM Apple, Tracy Fenney (USA), MTM Farm: 0 | 4 | 41.157
5 Cristo Beech, Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse & Alise Carrico: 0 | RT
6 MTM Pablo, Dorothy Douglas (USA), Davenport Farms: 4 | 71.517
7 Downtown’s Main Event, Shannon Sullivan (USA), Shannon Sullivan: 4 | 71.969
8 James Bond Hx, Samantha Schaefer (USA), Bonne Chance LLC: 4 | 73.908 
9 Any, Kady Abrahamson (USA), Abrahamson Equestrian LLC: 4 | 75.344
10 K-One Pgo, Jelmer Hoekstra (NED), Hoekstra Stables: 4 | 75.718