Vejer de La Frontera, Spain – March 08, 2020 – The jump-off just kept getting better and better and had the crowd on the edge of their seats cheering. This demanding class was the €51,850 Caser Seguros Grand Prix CSI 3*, held on Sunday to conclude the fourth week of the Sunshine Tour CSI 2*/3*/4* in Spain.
A good number of competitors got though to the jump off which was a long one that demanded forward riding. After her round Holly told us; “there were 15 of us through to the jump off, that’s enough! This type of course is great, not too short and complicated, you don’t have to set up the horses too much for each jump.”
Everyone knew that the fast Irish rider Anthony Condon (IRL) and SFS Vincomte had raised the game after their round. He beat the previous leader, the Belgian rider, Bart Clarys, by a few 100ths of a second. But the crowd were aware that the last riders to go were all fast and talented. The stage was set for a brilliant final three battling it out. Alberto Zorzi (ITA) from Italy on Vauban du Trio rode a very fast, neat round with great tight turns and took the lead away from the Irish rider by more than a second. The Italian and the 11-year-old Selle-Français gelding (Nervoso x Desir du Chateau) would finish in third place.
Then in came Pedro Veniss (BRA) representing Brazil, and riding a new horse in his string, Boeckmanns Lord Pezi Junior (Lord Pezi x Quatro 7); “a horse I have been riding since January and with whom I did very well with in the first weeks of the Sunshine Tour, coming third in the GP CSI 3*. No-one was sure if Pedro would go for the win on this 11-year-old horse, previously ridden by Marcos Kutscher (GER). However Pedro flew around the course in great style, leaving a very difficult job for Holly Smith in order to pull off a win.
Pedro told us: “The course designer, Elena Boix, did a good job today, it was a technical first round and the jump-off course was also good.” From start to the finish “Boeckmanns went at full speed in a balanced extended pace with great turns. They reaped a great reward taking two seconds off of the previous winning time. The crowd went wild and then in rode Holly.
Holly Smith (GBR) is a British rider who is shortlisted to jump at the Tokyo Olympics later this year. She regularly competes at the Sunshine Tour and is often on top of the podium. She had won the Small GP the day before, the John Deere Trophy, just shortly after arriving here at Montenmedio. Holly likes to win and she knows how.
Holly Smith (GBR) & Hearts Destiny during the awards ceremony
She told us “I think I got my advantage over Pedro between the first to the second jump which he did in 8 strides but the way I angled it allowed me to take one out.” Her time of 39.25 seconds aboard Hearts Destiny was fast enough to take the top spot on the podium with the wonderful 11-year-old bay Anglo-European Sport Horse (Heart Throb x Rabino) who really knows how to win a jump off at this level of competition.
“Last year we won the Suzuki Grand Prix CSI 4* and well, I have two fantastic horses here this year to ride in the GP. “Hearts Destiny” is a wonderful horse with a great stride and a lot of quality.” The crowd were amazing today, there was a lot of cheering and applause for all of the top 5 riders during the prize-giving and during the lap of honour.
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Source: Press release from the Sunshine Tour
Photos: © Sunshine Tour / Moises Basallote Fotografia