Vejer de La Frontera, Spain – March 26, 2023 – What an impressive win in an impressive class for the young Irish rider, Michael Pender (IRL) with the wonderful HHS Calais in the €100,000 Andalucía Grand Prix CSI 4* today; the top class on the very last day of the 2023 Andalucía Sunshine Tour, which has ben kindly sponsored by La Consejería de Turismo, Cultura y Deporte’ and co-financed by the European Union.
Michael was the very last rider to go in the jump-off and he rode a foot perfect and secure round, winning elegantly in 36.84 seconds on the wonderful HHS Calais, a 12 year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cavalier Royale x Obos Quality 004) owned by the Bravo Hughes Ltd.
Michael rides for the HHS Stud which, is jointly based between Kilkenny Ireland and Alcacer do Salhas in Portugal and they have had a long list of successes here at the Andalucía Sunshine tour this year, showing the sheer quality of their breeding programme and their riders. Run by Marion Hughes and Miguel Maria Bravo, who we interviewed the other day, the pedigrees of these two equestrians, are impeccable: ‘Marion and Miguel now devote their time to producing young horses bred at the Hughes Horse Stud up to International level ready for riders all over the globe’. And Miguel is also very well known for his ‘joie de vivre’. They must be beyond delighted with the long list of HHS winners here at Montenmedio and including some very promising youngsters, and we look forward to seeing these horses progress as their careers develop.
Michael told us, ‘It’s amazing to win the Grand Prix here in Sunshine Tour sponsored by the ‘Junta de Andalucía’. Calais jumped outstanding today, there was 12 in the jump off so it was a bit more difficult than last week (when he won the Suzuki GP); last week I was lucky enough I didn’t have to jump off but this week I had to jump off. It was quite, fast the class, and I think it was a brilliant course. The jump-off, maybe didn’t really suit me perfectly but we were lucky enough today to come out with the right result. I think a lot of people knocked the vertical that was put in for the jump off, number 15. So, its absolutely incredible to win two Grand Prixs here in a row on Sunshine Tour and I think it builds up our season amazing. I think we are ready to go to the big shows and thanks to the Sunshine Tour here for giving us the chance to hopefully build up for another brilliant season.
The course builder was Louis Konickx (NED) who told us earlier in the day. Today, we have a 1.60 course, it’s a qualifier for the Olympics, that means that a requirement to be capable to do the Olympics. So it’s tough. I think the course today is a course which you can gallop that gives confidence and gives nice sport and as you see we have the water jump, we have a triple bar we have a triple combination we have planks we have everything, all challenges in, so I hope we get nice sport’. And we surely did!
Duarte Seabra (POR) was second with a beautiful round from the 10-year-old Dourados 2 (Diarado x Cornet Obolensky), who is owned by Ronnoco Jump LTD. The duo finshed in second backed by a penalty-free performance in 37.08 seconds during the tiebreaker.
The young Canadian rider, Kara Chad (CAN) also had a foot perfect round and took a well deserved third with Igor GPH (Harley x Crawford 5), being timed in 37.67 seconds.
Final Results – €100,000 Andalucía Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Michael Pender (IRL) & HHS Calais – 0 / 0 – 36.84
2) Duarte Seabra (POR) & Dourados 2 – 0 / 0 – 37.08
3) Kara Chad (CAN) & Igor GPH – 0 / 0 – 37.67
Source: Press Release (edited) from the Andalucía Sunshine Tour
Photos: © Andalucía Sunshine Tour / Moises Basallote Fotografia / Mackenzie Clarke