British and Irish flags were flying worldwide at the weekend (21-22 March) as four grands prix — from USA to Italy — were won by the home nations.
Guy Williams and nine-year-old gelding Basic landed the final CSI3* grand prix on the five-week Spanish Sunshine Tour in a one-two for Di and Pennie Cornish, who also co-own the runner-up Caritiar Z, ridden by Phillip Miller.
“He had a good rest before we brought him here then he’s been jumping in the main ring here once a week. This class was the main aim so it worked out,” Guy told H&H.
On the CSI3* Toscana Tour in Italy, 18-year-old Jessica Mendoza triumphed in the 1.50m grand prix riding the 14-year-old mare Spirit T.
“Spirit T loves the grass here — she always jumps amazingly well,” said Jessica, drawn second last of the 15 jump-off contenders, four of whom produced double clears.
Over in Germany at the CSI4* Braunschweig, Denis Lynch and Abbervail Van Het Dingeshof not only scooped Sunday’s grand prix — and collected the keys to a Volkswagen Tiguan car — but the victory sealed an outstanding hat-trick of wins over three days with the 15-year-old gelding.
“He’s had an unbelievable amount of seconds in his career so it’s great to get the wins in,” said Denis, recording his fourth five-star win of 2015 with the son of Non Stop.
“I just had one tactic in that jump-off and that was to win — it’s worth giving it a shot when you’ve got a jeep on offer!”
In Florida, the 1.60m World Cup qualifier grand prix at Live Oak International went to Cian O’Connor, who has a serious prospect in the form of the nine-year-old stallion Good Luck. Going head-to-head with Beezie Madden (Vanilla), the Irishman recorded the only double clear of the competition to lift the $16,500 top prize.
“This is only our seventh show together so I’m very excited about this one — he just cruised round,” Cian told H&H. “It was difficult to go clear, but that’s what a World Cup qualifier is supposed to do. Good horses, like good cream, will rise to the top.”
Don’t miss the full details about how the British and Irish riders got on abroad — and see the full scope of Cian’s new stallion in images — in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday, 26 March.