Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy Dominate in $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

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

April 12, 2024 – Katy, TX – Of the five grand prix classes held thus far at the 2024 Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX, four of them have been won by Nicolas Gamboa, including Thursday’s $25,000 Monarch Stables Grand Prix. 

Gamboa has now earned an impressive nine Pin Oak grand prix wins since securing his first-ever grand prix victory at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center only two years ago. His victory in Thursday’s class came aboard his winningest mount throughout those two years, NKH Mr. Darcy.

Gamboa and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, owned by NKH LLC, were one of 17 entries in the class and one of six to jump clear over the first-round course designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral.

Nicolas Gamboa, pictured aboard NKH Vittorio S, in his winning presentation. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

From there, Gamboa and “Darcy” showcased what has become their signature speed, stopping the clock in 35.702 seconds for the win. Second place with a time of 36.844 seconds went to Martien van der Hoeven and Chance Encounter, owned by Marlac Ventures. Finishing in third was the only other grand prix winner so far this Pin Oak circuit, Avery Griffin, this time aboard Bodega Semilly, owned by PBC Equine Investments, LLC.

“I wanted to be quick, but I didn’t want to take everything out,” said Gamboa of his jump-off plan. “There were obviously some places to go inside and some places to go around. Normally, you would think inside is quicker, but I chose to go around there. I think it paid off in the end that I could keep cantering and didn’t have to slow down. I didn’t watch everybody in the jump-off go, but I think Darcy just kind of flowed very nicely and evenly everywhere. He was the one that won the class for us today.”

Martien Van Der Hoeven and Chance Encounter finished in second. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Gamboa continued, “Bernardo [Costa Cabral] is obviously one of the best course designers in the world. He does a fantastic job everywhere. Pin Oak is extremely lucky, and all of us in Texas are extremely lucky to have him here. He did a great job for a Thursday grand prix, setting us up for the rest of the week. I personally did not jump the [Welcome Stake] yesterday, but I watched a few go, and I thought this was just a little bit bigger, a little bit more technical. Overall, I thought it was a fantastic course with enough questions. He for sure didn’t pull out all the tricks today, but you can see his mind thinking on what he wants to do for Saturday’s [$100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix].” 

That $100,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix is what Gamboa will set his sights on next, as the class marks the highlight finale of three weeks of top hunter/jumper competition at the 78th Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. The evening’s grand prix festivities will kick off on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. with entertainment from the Diaz Family, followed by the first horse on course at 7:30 p.m. Spectator admission and parking are free, and all are invited to attend. To learn more, visit


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