NKH Vittorio S, NKH Mr. Darcy, and Nicolas Gamboa Go One-Two in $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

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Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Vittorio S. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Edited Press Release

April 7, 2024 – Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa has now earned an impressive three grand prix wins since the 2024 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show began on March 26, and on Saturday night, April 6, he not only notched his third victory of the show series, he picked up both first and second in the $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix.

On the way to his one-two finish, Gamboa accounted for three of the 23 entries in the Pin Oak Week II featured event at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center. The first-round course, designed by Oscar Soberon, narrowed that starting field down to 10 horses – and two entries for Gamboa – for the jump-off, and from there, it was an exciting race against the clock.  

The very first pair to return for the short course, Natalee Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, laid down a clear round and set the time to beat at a competitive 40.589 seconds. Four trips later, it was Gamboa’s turn aboard NKH Vittorio S, and a slick inside turn helped shoot the duo straight to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 37.801 seconds.

Nicolas Gamboa was joined in his winning presentation by Randy Krause of R-C Ranch (pictured far right). Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

That time would prove uncatchable, and only Gamboa himself would come within striking distance. Aboard NKH Mr. Darcy, he stopped the clock in 38.783 seconds to take second place, relegating Haggan and MTM Hyperion Z, owned by MTM Farm, to third. 

“I think Oscar [Soberon] did a great job with the jump-off,” said Gamboa, who rides for October Hill Farm. “You had to make sure that you didn’t overdo it too early. With ‘Vitto’ I kind of got to [the inside turn I had in mind] a little bit faster than I wanted, so I didn’t quite do the turn the way I wanted. I kind of slipped in between a gap. It was a little bit last-minute thinking there. Then, we were a little bit angled into the combination, but he really worked hard and made it happen.”

Gamboa continued, “With Darcy, I’ve known that horse a little bit longer, and he’s so rideable. He lands and turns. So that [turn] was kind of right there; it’s a given with that horse, but obviously, Vitto just got a little bit the better of Darcy today.” 

Gamboa has been partnered with NKH Vittorio S, owned by Neil Knox of NKH LLC, for roughly a year, and the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding has been on the cusp of a big win for some time.

Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“He jumped a big class [at the Las Vegas National in November 2023]; that was kind of our first bigger show together,” said Gamboa. “He’s kind of always been knocking on the door…Finally, I think at this show, we put some of those pieces together and figured out the jump-off.” 

Gamboa continued, “I think Vitto and Darcy are very similar in a lot of ways but also vastly different in a lot of ways. Darcy’s very athletic, very catty, but a little bit smaller and a little bit shorter with a lot of heart. Vitto has just got such an athletic body and such a massive stride. He’s so quick across the ground. He has all the scope in the world it feels like. Both horses try so hard, and they want to win just as much as I do. It’s always a nice feeling.”

With Saturday’s win added to his increasingly impressive resume, Gamboa has now earned eight grand prix victories at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show just since 2022.

“It never gets old,” concluded Gamboa. “The feeling is always incredible – knowing that the horses are performing well and that we’re doing everything right at home and at the shows and that the whole team is performing well. It’s great to be able to get this [win] back to the team.”

Next Gamboa will be looking to get one or two more grand prix wins under his belt during Week III of the 78th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which kicks off on Wednesday, April 10. Highlights of the week will include Thursday’s $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix and the finale $100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix on Saturday, April 13. To learn more, visit www.PinOak.org.

About the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show
Recognized as a US Equestrian Heritage Competition, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States. Today, the show features three weeks of top-caliber hunter/jumper events and one week of breed show competition at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX.

Watch to hear from Nicolas Gamboa and to relive highlights from the $50,000 R-C Ranch Grand Prix!