In a tearjerker of a retirement ceremony in Geneva on Saturday (pictured), Scott Brash bid farewell to the now 17-year-old Hello Sanctos.
Scott’s enduring partnership with Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s gelding is what the sport of showjumping is all about. Together, they conquered the world and, says Scott, “He’s made all my dreams come true”.
The Scotsman first teamed up with a then nine-year-old Sanctos at the end of 2011. The gelding, by Quasimodo Van De Molendreef out of a Nabab De Reve, was bred in Belgium by Willy Taets and won his first grand prix as an eight-year-old under USA rider Peter Wylde.
Sanctos stepped up to five-star level with Ukraine’s Katharina Offel before Scott and David Broome went to try — and buy — him. Scott’s new owners Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham changed his name from Sanctos Van Het Gravenhof to the now familiar “Hello” prefix.
“I knew he was special the first time I sat on him,” said Scott.
The pair made their international debut at the start of 2012 and immediately embarked on a glittering journey to become one of the most successful combinations in the history of the sport.
Their first taste of victory at the top level came in the World Cup qualifier in Florida. That and similarly impressive performances caught the eye of team manager Rob Hoekstra and they received their first Nations Cup team call-up, jumping their trademark double clear, before that summer Scott and Hello Sanctos would be crowned Olympic champions as part of the gold medal-winning British team in London.
The following year, Scott reigned as the world number one and he and Sanctos were part of the Aga Khan-winning Nations Cup team in Dublin before claiming team gold and individual bronze at the European Championships in Denmark. The pair also completed the grand prix-World Cup double with victories on consecutive nights at the CSI5* in Oslo, Norway. They sealed another unforgettable year by heading the LGCT grand prix in Doha Qatar, which also won Scott the overall championship in the series — all on his 28th birthday.
Early grand prix success in 2014 came in Florida, then at the LGCTs of Cannes, Estoril and on home soil in London, before the start of the pair’s historic Rolex Grand Slam began with an epic triumph in the grand prix in Geneva, where the pair also topped the prestigious Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. They completed the hat-trick the following year by winning in Aachen and writing history in Spruce Meadows with their third Major victory in succession, claiming the €1million bonus.
“I’m so lucky to be working with a horse like Sanctos — he felt as though he could do another round today,” Scott said at the time. “To win at Geneva, Aachen and then Calgary on three different horses would be an achievement, but to do it on the same horse is incredible.”
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
To celebrate Hello Sanctos topping the FEI WBFSH World Ranking List again, we've dug out some facts that you may
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Further LGCT grand prix titles came in Miami and Estoril that year.
Sanctos sat out much of 2016 through injury and had an equally quiet 2017 — not returning to the ring until the end of 2018. He had been jumping at a handful of one- and two-star shows this year before Scott made the decision to retire this phenomenal horse after his final appearance in the ring in St Tropez in October.
“I really can’t thank Sanctos enough for what he has done,” said Scott. “I also need to thank my owners for believing in me and believing in Sanctos. We had an incredible partnership and I hope he will be remembered as a superstar.”
Would you like to read Horse & Hound’s independent journalism without any adverts? Join Horse & Hound Plus today and you can read all articles on completely ad-free