‘A great start’: Olympic medallist Gio and his new rider make a winning debut

  • British teenager Annabella Pidgley and Olympic medallist Gio made a winning start to their partnership with a class-topping performance on their competition debut.

    The pair won the inter II gold section at Science Supplements Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex on Saturday (26 February) with a score of 72.64%.

    The combination secured victory by close to a 2% margin ahead of runners-up Tom Goode and Sakira (70.73%).

    “[It] goes without saying that he has been beautifully produced and achieved incredible things in the sport so far,” said Annabella on Instagram.

    “But it has been a real step up for me as a rider to learn how to ride him at this level, harness his power and talents and do him justice, which we have been doing over the winter period.

    “I’m delighted to say we won the Inter II with 72.64% and am looking forward to our partnership and friendship continuing to grow and our future together. A great start.”

    She added that she made her competition debut with “Pumpkin” with the support of Charlotte Dujardin, with whom Gio won his Olympic and European medals.

    The 11-year-old Apache son won team and individual bronze in Tokyo, before helping the Brits to team silver and collecting another individual bronze at the European Championships in 2021.

    Saturday marked Annabella’s first time competing at this level. The 17-year-old, who won two silver medals at last year’s junior Europeans with Sultan Des Paluds, contested an inter I with her former ride Belafonte in 2020, and is also competing at small tour with Sultan.

    Gio was sold to join Annabella’s exciting string last autumn. He remained with Charlotte at Carl Hester’s Gloucestershire yard, while Annabella got to know him, and has now moved to her Berkshire base.

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