Mill Spring, NC - Tryon Fall IV competition was highlighted on Saturday evening at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), with a win for Marilyn Little (USA) and Clearwater, as the pair took top honors ahead of 43 other pairs in the $130,000 Suncast® Commercial Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Little and the 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Tricolore-W), owned by Karen O'Connor, stopped the short course timers in a brisk 35.32 seconds, while Eve Jobs (USA) took second place aboard her own Charleville, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quasimodo Z x Wickeyville), after completing the jump-off in 35.638 seconds. Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and H&M Harley VD Bisschop, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Charisma I), owned by Ludo Philippaerts and Ben Beevers, claimed third place honors, finishing in 36.119 seconds.
The course, designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), saw 44 pairs test the first-round track. Eleven pairs returned for the jump-off round, where Little and Clearwater flew to the top of the leaderboard to claim first place.
Little said she is happy to break her recent streak of "one-fence-itis" with a win tonight. "I haven't had great luck lately, so I'm happy to break that tonight. This is a great venue for him, and he's really developed a lot here this summer and in the past year. These have been great classes for him to really step up to being a real horse and a top horse. I can really count on him.
"The footing is fast in here, so you can really take a shot at it, and so he's a really fun horse to ride in the jump-off," she continued.
The pair were last to go after jump-off rounds that kept getting faster throughout the short course, and Little admitted there was some pressure to perform against the other top riders. She was followed closely by young U.S. talent Eve Jobs and European standout Nicola Philippaerts.
"There were so many in the jump-off. I thought Beezie was quite fast, and that I'd be trying to beat her, and then they just kept getting faster and faster," she said. "That's a little how the class went tonight overall. I knew I was going to have to go in and put in a personal best, and if we did that, he would win because he's so fast."
Little and Clearwater will contest the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* next week for the first time together, and Little reported that tonight's win is a real confidence boost. The duo then plan to head to Wellington, FL for their winter circuit, where Little will look to compete in the top classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
"From here, he will go to Wellington and will hopefully be a real contender there. He was an eventer initially, tried some jumpers and we decided to see how far he could go. It's been a wonderful ride for us both and he's a really special horse," she concluded.
Competition concludes for Tryon Fall IV tomorrow, Sunday, October 15, featuring $25,000 1.45m Sunday Classic beginning at 1:00 p.m. on the Grass Complex, as the highlight class of the crowd-favorite Derby Days at TIEC. Tryon Fall V begins on Wednesday, October 18 and will feature the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, October 21 at 7:00 p.m. For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.
Click here for a full list of results for the $130,000 Suncast® Commercial Grand Prix CSI 3*.