‘I jumped three fences and said I’d take him’: rider wins London GCT speed class on borrowed horse

Tony Pearson flies to victory on day two of the Longines Global Champions Tour

  • Britain’s run of dominance continued on day two of the London Global Champions Tour (GCT), with tour debutant Tony Pearson setting an untouchable time in the 2* speed class with catch ride Fanta-Astic.

    Tony went into a 6sec lead with the 11-year-old gelding from seventh to jump, knocking the USA’s Mary Kate Olsen off the top spot.

    Only Michaela Wood and Lingala were able to come close to his target, finishing runners up 0.79sec behind.

    Tony had only sat on the former eventer, who usually jumps the bronze league with owner Louisa McDonald, on Wednesday.

    “He belongs to my livery Louisa and one of my other horses wasn’t able to come and I was a horse short,” said Tony, who is based 40 minutes away from the London GCT venue, in Windsor.

    “I jumped three jumps and said ‘OK, let’s see what he does’. He’s been really competitive.”

    Fanta-Astic was also second in Friday’s 1.15m to Georgia Round and Musicmaker.

    “Everyone who was competitive today took the same route, there was no killer turn out there,” said Tony. “It was a case of who was quicker across the floor. I was early to go, I knew Michaela was coming after me but I just did what was comfortable for him and didn’t really watch the class after that. He felt great in there.”

    It is Tony’s first time contesting the GCT and he seized the chance after not being able to go abroad for most of the year because of Brexit and Covid.

    “We haven’t travelled so much this year, so decided to come to the London GCT,” he said. “I’m feeling really lucky to be able to experience it all. We’re lucky to have something this fantastic so local.”

    Tony’s victory on day two of the London GCT was the second consecutive home win of the morning. Saturday’s opening Fiji Water 1.30m 2* was headed by George Whitaker, who claimed a victory for the second day running with his father-in-law’s Peanut. Joe Clayton, who had led for much of the class, collected the runner-up spot with Jenson QR.

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