Rowan Willis and Diablo VII Retrieve Win in $75,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix Under the Lights

Jun 21, 2020 - 8:25 PM

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Divine Fortune Earn $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake Win

Todd Minikus and Amex Z Collect the Win in $25,000 Wednesday Classic

Santiago Lambre and Doloris Finesse $25,000 Sunday Classic

For Immediate Release

Mill Spring, NC – June 21, 2020 – Rowan Willis (Ocala, FL) and Diablo VII sped through the jump-off in a time of 34.045 seconds to take the win in Saturday evening’s $75,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix – the venue’s first night class of 2020 and first evening contest on the recently fully-engineered Tryon Stadium footing. Kristen VanderVeen (Wellington, FL) and Bull Run’s Risen, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Utopie x Indoctro) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Inc., claimed second place after their 35.185 second jump-off round, while third went to Amanda Derbyshire (Wellington, FL) aboard Cornwall BH, a 2008 Holsteiner stallion (Con Air x Cambridge) self-owned with Gochman Sport Horse LLC, combining efforts to put in a clear jump-off round in 40.484 seconds.

Twenty horse-and-rider pairs tested the Michel Vaillancourt (Aiken, SC) designed course, with seven combinations returning for the jump-off in front of nearly-empty stands while horse shows are still closed to the public. Willis and the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Douglas x Cavalier) owned by himself and Lucinda Huddy managed to shave seconds off the leading time with a few speedy riders behind them in the order of go, ultimately holding onto the lead, he explained.

543_4686 Rowan Willis and Diablo VII

“It was a tough enough course; it wasn’t a big field, but it was a strong field of riders,” Willis relayed of the first Grand Prix held under the lights in Tryon Stadium since 2019. “I thought it was a nice course, and it obviously suited me! But it was nice to be jumping again under the lights. I always like riding in this arena. Unfortunately we don’t have the crowd right now, but it’s still a good atmosphere and a lovely ring to ride in.”

543_4675 Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Risen

Willis detailed that he initially didn’t think he had beaten VanderVeen’s time, but that it felt great to go clear. “It’s been a bit of a four-fault first couple of weeks for me, so it was nice to jump clear, and Diablo was in good form. I’m not really sure where I won it, but it’s always handy to watch Kristen go first – she’s such a fast rider – so I actually didn’t know whether I was quicker than her. I added in a couple of places, but I think maybe I just had a tighter turn to the fourth fence. Then, it was just waiting to see how the others went.”

543_4719 Amanda Derbyshire and Cornwall BH

While planning his season loosely like many others, Willis acknowledged that his string of horses allows him to rely on depth rather than on his World Equestrian Games™ mount, Blue Movie: “Diablo has done a wonderful job for me over the last year and has won me a lot. He’ll do a couple more Grand Prix classes, and take the pressure of Carrots [Blue Movie] a bit. I’ll be here for the next four weeks. Then, I’ll probably go to Saugerties, have maybe a bit of a break, and then it looks like we’re back here.”

Willis concluded by commenting on the new fully-engineered riding surface in Tryon Stadium and being back to horse shows again. “It’s great that they’ve put the new surface in, and it’s just good to be back showing. Obviously, there are different regulations in place, and it’s not quite the same without the crowd, but it’s good that the show is doing the work and getting us back to competing with some decent prize money. It’s good to get the sport going again!”

Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Divine Fortune Earn $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake Win

Kristen VanderVeen (Wellington, FL) and Bull Run’s Divine Fortune were the fastest pair of the day in Thursday’s $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake in Tryon Stadium, stopping the short-course timers in 27.668 seconds for the win. Todd Minikus (Lake Worth, FL) took both second and third place aboard Todd Minikus LTD entries, riding Juju VDM, a 2009 Belgian Warmblood mare (Toulon x For Pleasure), to a time of 28.934 seconds and piloting Calvalou, the 2007 Oldenburg gelding (Calvaro F.C. x Baloubet du Rouet), to a clear round in a time of 29.897 seconds for third.

543_3388Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run’s Divine Fortune

VanderVeen noted that the 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Padinus x Caruso) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC has been in her string for a few years and is “one of the most competitive horses I’ve ridden. She’s always fighting for me,” VanderVeen shared. “She’s special to ride because she gives you a hundred percent every time she goes into the ring. She’s won a lot of classes for me.”

“I really liked the course,” VanderVeen said about the track. “It suited my mare very well. She was quite careful with the vertical-to-vertical combination after the triple bar,” she elaborated. “She’s very good at those things. I thought [the course] really played to her strengths.”

Like many competitors, VanderVeen is still playing her competition season by ear, but plans to stay at TIEC for the summer. “It’s really exceeded my expectations,” she concluded of her competition experience at the venue. “I feel that they’ve done a great job. Everybody has been very generous and kind. It’s gone very well and everyone seems to be quite happy with it.”

Todd Minikus and Amex Z Collect $25,000 Wednesday Classic Win

Todd Minikus (Lake Worth, FL) and Amex Z, the Bit By Bit Groups’ 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris), stopped the jump-off timers in 27.027 seconds to take the win in Wednesday’s $25,000 Wednesday Classic. David Blake (Wellington, FL) and Don’t Touch Du Bois, a 2009 Belgian Sport Horse mare (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Pine Hollow Farm, put in a 28.907-second round to claim second, while third went to Gavin Harley (Wellington, FL) and Very Chic du Tillard, a 2009 Selle Francais gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Quidam De Revel) owned by E2 Showjumpers, stopping the timers at 30.666 seconds.

543_3296Todd Minikus and Amex Z

Santiago Lambre and Doloris Finesse $25,000 Sunday Classic

Santiago Lambre (Wellington, FL) and Doloris, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Colorado D) owned by Aurora Rangel De Alba, claimed the $25,000 Sunday Classic win in a time of 30.103 seconds, while second place went to Wellington’s David Blake aboard Don’t Touch Du Bois, Pine Hollow Farm’s 2009 Belgian Sport Horse mare (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Indoctro), on a time of 30.814 seconds. Third was awarded to Zoubair Bennani (Ocala, FL) and Vishnou Un Prince, Leah Garlan’s 2009 Selle Francais gelding (Banboula Du Thot x Galoubet A), stopping the jump-off timers in 31.504 seconds.

543_4889Santiago Lambre and Doloris

Tryon Summer 2 Division Highlights

Hunter Highlights
Saturday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby resulted in a win for Todd Minikus (Lake Worth, FL) and Rissoa D’ag Bois Margot, the entry owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms Inc., scoring a total of 183 over two rounds. Abbygale Funk (Saint George, KS) piloted two MMK Equestrian LLC mounts to the podium, scoring 181 aboard Asteri and claiming third with Journey on a score of 176.

The Performance Hunter 3’3” Division named Ashley Conkle (Wellford, SC) and Rachel Darash’s Kirby Lane as champions on the week, with reserve going to Siobhan Fitzgerald (Wellington, FL) aboard Richie Moloney’s Catoon.

Christina Fisher (Alpharetta, GA) and her own Levland championed the Coca-Cola® Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” Division, with Suzanna Treske (Waxhaw, NC) piloting Dr. Mitzi Treske’s Cabalina to reserve.

Jumper Highlights
Richie Moloney (Wellington, FL) and Equinimity LLC’s Merqusio topped the 1.35m Open Jumper Division, and reserve honors were named to Damian Guthrie (Reddick, FL) in the irons with Gerry’s Jewels for Florence Hessen-Scher.

Zoubair Benanni (Ocala, FL) and mount Idem Dito claimed champion honors in the FarmPaint 1.15m Jumper Division, with three horse-and-rider pairs earning reserve on the week: Conor O’Regan (Upperville, VA) and Ericka Houlihan’s Ultrachic, Damian Guthrie (Reddick, FL) and Riptide for Magnolia Hill Farm, and Jacqueline Ward (Houston, TX) piloting Superstition for Sandra Ward.

The ProElite 1.10m Children’s Jumper Division saw Caia Watridge (St. Augustine, FL) and her own Kalle claim champion honors, while Aidan Murphy (Reddick, FL) and Linda Murphy’s F. Kaboom took reserve.

To view all division results from Tryon Summer 2, click here.

The Tryon Summer Series continues next with Tryon Summer 3, hosted June 24-28 and featuring CSI 2* competition, marking the first international competition hosted at the venue in 2020. While the entire Tryon Summer Series is closed to the public for spectating, highlight classes including all FEI competition will be streamed for free at

For full results from the $75,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix, click here.

For full results from the $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake, click here.

For full results from the $25,000 Wednesday Classic, click here.

For full results from the $25,000 Sunday Classic, click here.

Photo credit ©Sportfot. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit. Contact with questions.


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