Alice Oppenheimer (pictured) kicked off a successful opening day at Vidauban’s CDI in France today (5 March). She won the prix st georges (PSG) for seven- to nine-year-old horses riding the British-bred Tantoni Sir Soccrates. They were the only combination to break the 70% barrier, posting 70.73%.
It was the eight-year-old chestnut gelding’s third ever test at the level.
“He’s such a pro,” reported the 25-year-old rider of the former licensed stallion. “He goes in there and it’s like he’s done it all a million and one times before. It honestly feels like riding a grand prix schoolmaster around a PSG — it’s bizarre.
“He was actually even more confident in the arena than he was in the warm-up and he stood like a rock for the anthem in the prize-giving.
“I think he’ll make a great grand prix horse as he never runs out of energy and his brain just sucks everything up.”
A rough ride
The journey to the South of France was not without its difficulties; Alice and her mother Sarah suffered a blow-out in the lorry on the French motorway and were delayed by almost three hours.
“We don’t speak a word of French, but the show were really helpful in getting the other tyre changed when we arrived, as you have to do them in pairs,” added Alice.
“To win after a journey like that is a really big deal.”
“Soccs” was third to go, so Alice had an agonising wait before confirmation of her victory.
Her winnings included “a bottle of wine that comes up to my knee”, which she plans to drink with fellow British riders Anna Ross and Daniel Watson later in the week.
Anna and Daniel were also in action today; Anna scooping fourth in the intermediate A on Lord Of Rock and Dan picking up another fourth — at inter II — on Amadeus.
Tears of joy
Soccs’ breeder and owner Georgie Pole-Carew was delighted to hear news of her horse’s win.
“Mum got a text from her saying she was crying,” said Alice. “And mum had a little cry too — but luckily only back at the stables.”
Georgie is expecting a full sibling to Socs — who is by Sir Donnerhall and out of a White Magic mare — this year.
The horse will attemp his first ever inter I on Saturday. Meanwhile, all three British riders are in action tomorrow in the grand prix.