Vejer de La Frontera, Spain – March 19, 2023 – Ireland was back on the top of the podium in two of the Grand Prix classes today at the Andalucía Sunshine Tour CSI 4*. The winners of the Longines Ranking, European 2023 and Olympic 2024 qualifier class, the Big Tour`s €97,880 Suzuki Grand Prix CSI 4* were Michael Pender and the talented HHS Calais.
The top 50 combinations of the week jumped in this extremely testing event and, in the end, the quality of the top competitors really stood out. HHS Calais is really a 5* horse and has been competing with Pender since 2018, from young horse classes all the way to the top. This partnership was evident today when they were the only combination to go clear within the time allowed in the first round of the 1.55m class, sponsored by Suzuki and designed by the Venezuelan, Leopoldo Palacios Jugo. The 12-year-old Irish bay gelding is by the very famous sire, Cavalier Royale and the dam sire is Obos Quality 004, from another amazing stallion, Quick Star. HHS Calais has had many impressive results already under his belt, including a win in the 2022 FEI Nations Cup Final CSIO 5* in Barcelona.
The second place of this demanding class was conquered with just one time penalty-point by the German rider, Michael Viehweg (GER) with the talented Contario (Contendro I x Caridor Z). In third place and with just two time penalties, it was Spanish rider Santiago Nuñez Riva (ESP), with the lovely Chakira Z (Crown Z x Quidam de Revel).
After his win, Michael told us:
“I’m absolutely delighted to win the Grand Prix here in the Sunshine Tour week six’. ‘I’m absolutely delighted with Calais, he jumped super and hopefully it’s a good start for another good season. The course was difficult today, there was only one clear and I’m absolutely delighted that I didn’t have to do a jump off, it doesn’t happen very often! But it was amazing and my horse jumped amazing. It was a very difficult course and quite big. I think its fantastic here to jump on the grass this early in the season and a big thanks to Sunshine Tour and everybody involved for making these brilliant conditions.”
Final Results – €97,880 Suzuki Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Michael Pender (IRL) & HHS Calais – 0 – 78.09
2) Michael Viehweg (GER) & Contario – 1 – 80.24
3) Santiago Nuñez Riva (ESP) & Chakira Z– 2 – 81.31
Source: Press Release (edited) from the Andalucía Sunshine Tour
Photo: © Andalucía Sunshine Tour / Moises Basallote Fotografia / Mackenzie Clarke