Mill Spring, NC- Jimmy Torano (USA) and Betagravin stole the show in today's FEI competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), riding to an impressive win in the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Challenge CSI 2* on the second day of international competition in the George H. Morris Arena. The pair made quick work of the jump-off track to stop the timers in 34.931 seconds.
Leslie Howard (USA) and Gentille van Spieveld finished in second place with a time of 36.998 seconds, while Kyle Timm (CAN) and Georgie B earned third place with a time of 37.01 seconds.
Torano piloted both of his mounts, Betagravin, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Grandeville) owned by North Run & Missy Clark, and Chiara Blue Diamond, owned by Yves Houtackers Spingstal & Missy Clark, into the top ten of the competitive class. Eight entries advanced to the jump-off round, while 46 entries contested the original track set by Richard Jeffery (GBR).
"I thought the course today was very nice. It wasn't too big, but tough enough for a qualifying class," said Torano. "I was lucky enough to have two in the jump-off and was fast on my first horse in, but had a rail down. I went last on Betagravin and knew that Leslie went very quick. This horse is just fast. The object for us was to win today."
The pair have only been partnered together since the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season, when Missy Clark and John Brennan asked Torano to try the mare out in a few classes. Torano elaborated, "She belongs to John and Missy with North Run. One day they asked me to ride her and we just clicked. I won the first class I did with her in Florida and she's just a winner. She has a huge heart and is just super careful. She's a real fighter."
With Torano's breadth of experience and Betagravin's will to win, the pair has been formidable in international competition together. While Torano noted that Betagravin had jumped quality classes with previous riders, he feels the mare has truly come into form this year.
"She's a horse that you can count on every time in the ring. It's a good horse to have and she tries to win every class we put her in," he explained. "She had jumped a few 1.50m classes and had some good experience at nice shows before this season. This winter she really got solid and consistent at this height and has been a rock star ever since."
This week is Torano's first trip to TIEC to compete and the veteran U.S. rider and renowned trainer has been impressed with not only the performance of his horses, but the experience his team has had so far.
"I love it here. I'm the biggest fan. I'm still trying to find something that I don't like. We're in a three-bedroom cabin with Missy and John and it's just been fantastic," laughed Torano. "What's not to like here? There are restaurants and a General Store. It's all just pretty spectacular. We loved it the first day and winning today's class always makes the week that much sweeter. This is as good as it gets. It's the best facility I've ever seen and we will absolutely be back in the fall."
International competition continues tomorrow with the $6,000 Horseware® Ireland 1.45m CSI 2* at 8:00 a.m. in the George H. Morris Arena. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.tryon.com.