CSI 5*

Michael Pender & HHS Calais Win Thrilling €900,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh CSI 5*

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – October 22, 2022 – Great Britain and Ireland are two powerhouse nations of showjumping and their athletes stole the spotlihght last Saturday at the Longines Global Champions of Riyadh CSI 5* & CSI 2*. If in one hand Ben Maher (GBR) secured his third overall LGCT title of Champion of Champions by finishing tenth, Michael Pender (IRL) made the Irish proud, riding victoriously in the €900,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh CSI 5*.

In fact, it was the Irishman’s second LGCT grand prix win of the season with the 11-year-old bay Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cavalier Royale x Obos Quality). After having triumphed in the €300,000 Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard CSI 5*.

With two of the first three going clear in the first round, one would think that there would be many clean performances and a long list of finalists for the jump-off. However that was not the case as only four combinations managed to qualify for the decisive round.

Jur Vrieling (NED) and Long John Silver 3 (Lasino x San Patrignano Corrado) had the disadvantage of being the first ones to face the 1.60m shortened course by Uliano Vezzani (ITA) and the duo delivered their second clean performance in 38.83 seconds, a mark that would be good enough for bronze honors.

Harrie Smolders (NED) & Monaco N.O.P.

Harrie Smolders (NED) and Monaco N.O.P (Cassini II x Contender) lowered the leading time by over two seconds, and many present thought that their time of 36.68 seconds would be more than enough for the win, however they would have to settle for second place.

Having shrugged the pressure off his shoulder with his first LGCT GP win last August, Michael Pender (IRL) knew that he could count on HHS Calais once again and the dynamic duo delivered. The combination charged through the course before blazing across the finish line in 35.78 seconds.

The win was not secured yet since Malin Bary-Johnsson (SWE) and the speedy H&M Indiana (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Animo’s Hallo) were still left to go. A pin drop silence could be felt as the ambiance was filled with expectation as they entered the ring to seal the deal. In the end, they were even faster but their time of 35.17 seconds came at the expense of one rail down, handing the win to the Irishman.

Final Results – €900,000 Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riyadh CSI 5*

1) Michael Pender (IRL) & HHS Calais – 0 / 0 – 35.78

2) Harrie Smolders (NED) & Monaco N.O.P – 0 / 0 – 36.68

3) Jur Vrieling (NED) & Long John Silver 3 – 0 / 0 – 38.83

Text: Jumper News, no reproduction without permission

Photos: © LGCT / Stefano Grasso