Vejer de La Frontera, Spain – November 28, 2020 – Holly Smith (GBR) was absolutely delighted with her wonderful gelding Denver as they won the very hotly contested 1.50m Grand Prix, Tokyo Olympic Qualifier that finished off the Autumn Tour today. There were 18 horses through to the jump off today, highlighting the sheer quality of riders and horses in the class. The first round was very technical with interesting turns and distances throughout and proved to be challenging. Of the 18 combinations jumping clear in the first round today, 5 were Irish, this really goes to show the pure class of the Irish showjumpers at this moment.
The jump-off track was real challenge from the very first jump as the course twisted and turned with difficult lines and pace changes needed throughout. With great support from the other riders and team members, Holly and 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Memphis x Chico’s Boy) attacked the course from the word go and flew through the finish in 36.76 seconds. This took the lead and gave her the magnificent win pushing David Will (GER) from Germany down into second place. David had ridden a stylishly fast round on C Vier 2 but stopped the clock in 37.00 seconds, just behind Holly’s winning time. In the end, Irish riders took third, fourth, sixth and seventh places. Denis Lynch (IRL) with Cristello was in the lead for a while and ended up in third place beating Mark McAuley (IRL) with Jasco VD Bisschop into fourth. French rider Olivier Robert (FRA) slotted in to fifth place with Vivaldi des Meneaux and in sixth was Cameron Hanley (IRL) with ESI Toulouse and seventh was Conor Swail with Koss Van Heiste.
In a quick impromptu interview before the prize giving, Holly told us how happy she was to have won the class after what has been an extremely challenging year, she is looking forward to the Tokyo Olympics next year but is mainly focusing on keeping her horses happy and healthy with the help of her team and sponsors. When asked if she will be back in the spring for the 2021 Sunshine Tour here in Dehesa Montenmedio, the answer was a resounding yes.
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Source: Press release from the Sunshine Tour
Photos: © Sunshine Tour / Moises Basallote Fotografia