Holly Smith Retains Top Spot with Another Sunshine Tour Grand Prix Win

Holly Smith and Alberto Zorzi during the prize giving. Sunshine Tour ®Oxer Sport

Holly Smith held on to her winning form following another Grand Prix win during this year’s Sunshine Tour on Sunday (8/02/2020). Following an exciting first stage of the CSI3* Grand Prix round, the jump-off took the class to the next level leaving the crowd on the edge of their seats cheering.

There were a total of 15 horse and rider combinations who made it through to the jump-off, adding tension to each and pairing was a long and technical course that demanded forward riding.

Holly Smith and Alberto Zorzi during the prize giving. Sunshine Tour ®Oxer Sport
Holly Smith and Alberto Zorzi during the prize giving. Sunshine Tour. ®Oxer Sport

Holly, a regular winner during each year’s Sunshine Tour, commented:

There were 15 of us through to the jump-off, that’s enough!”

Everyone knew that the fast Irish rider Anthony Condom 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 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.  Then in came Pedro Veniss representing Brazil, riding a new horse in his string, Boeackmanns Lord Pezi Junior;

Pedro spoke of his ride:

 [he is] a horse I have been riding since January and who I did very well with in the first weeks of the Sunshine Tour, coming third in the GP CSI3*”

No-one was sure if Pedro would go for the win on the 11-yr-old, previously ridden by Marcos Kutscher from Germany. However, Pedro flew around the course in great style, leaving a very difficult job for Holly Smith to pull off a win.

Holly and her ride Hearts Destiny, who really knows how to ride a jump-off, completed in 39.25sec snatching the last-minute win from Brazilian rider.

Holly commented:

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.”

Last year we won the CSI4* Suzuki Grand Prix 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 1.45m Big Tour was held this morning in the grass Hickstead arena. In the end Dermott Lennon was triumphant and Matthew Sampson took second place, in third was Michel Robert, all very well known names on the podium at Montenmedio.

Once again the 19yr old Irish rider Jason Foley was in the prize money in this fourth week of the Tour. In the Medium Tour GP which was up to height at 1.45m, he beat off 12 other competitors in the jump-off riding Madorada DW:

“she [Madorada DW] is just 8yrs old and has a great future ahead of her, I hope that next year she will become my top ride. Last season she improved a lot and now we know each other pretty well as I have been riding her since she was 5. I have to say she is very careful and powerful even though she has no experience at this height. This is a great result for her and for her owners Matteo Pelmglio and Gerard O’Neil.”

Said Foley.

Jason Foley. Image credit Moises Basallote
Jason Foley. Image credit Moises Basallote SUNSHINE TOUR 2020 www.moisesbasallote.com

In this class the Spanish rider Sira Martínez, who is the daughter of the Spanish football team trainer, Luis Enrique, was third on Hanna van het Lambroeck.

The 1.35m, Small Tour C, was also won by Jason Foley this time with Castlefield Sapphire: “a horse that is improving step by step and who is fast and careful.” In second was Tom Watchman with Ava Vernon.

There was a Spanish win in the Medium Tour 1.35m, from Iván Serrano who lives in Cantabria, riding Velcom. The pairing have enjoyed good results all week, building up to the day’s win. Iván also came third in the Big Tour 1.30m, class, riding Numerus. He was beaten by Rodrigo Sampaio and the Dutch rider Kim Emmen.

The CSYH* and the CSI3* finished off the week at the Sunshine Tour. More than 1,900 horses are stabled there, enjoying amazing installations that can boast to be utterly unique as they are the in the only sports facilities in Spain with the organic certification seal, issued by the certification body that specialises in organic production, the CAAE.

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