Huge-striding, ‘playful’ 17.2hh gelding lands Royal Windsor’s opening five-star: ‘I wasn’t expecting that’

  • Royal Windsor Horse Show’s opening CSI5* showjumping class on Friday (3 May) was won in impressive style by Ireland’s Shane Breen with 17.2hh gelding Cato Boy.

    As torrential rain hit the Berkshire showground during the two-phase Pearl Stakes, Shane used the 10-year-old’s ground-devouring stride to edge a 0.03sec advantage over nippy Matt Sampson and MGH Candy Girl, who had to settle for the runner-up spot. Third went to Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca on Poden Farms’ stallion Cash Du Plessis.

    “I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Shane. “I watched Matt Sampson’s round and Cato has such a big stride, you can leave out strides on him, but I wasn’t expecting to beat Matt.

    “The seven strides to the last fence was long enough, but the great thing about this horse is that when you commit, he commits with you – he never thinks ‘Oh no, this is too far’ and then not actually take you there. He’s lovely.”

    Cato Boy: in the genes

    Nikki Rutter Giaponne’s 10-year-old by Commissario, out of Bockmann’s Lord Pezi mare Lady Gaga, is a full brother to Martin Fuchs’ prolific winner, the year older Commissar Pezi, but Shane describes the equine brothers as “totally different”.

    “Cato Boy arrived in Dubai as a three-year-old and he was shown to his owner Nikki and he was absolutely the wrong horse for her to buy just because he was far too big, but she absolutely fell in love with him,” explained Shane.

    “I suggested she send him to my brother Trevor, so he produced him as a six- and seven-year-old. Then I bought out half from Nikki so we owned him together and he moved from Trevor to my yard two years ago and I’ve been trying to keep producing him since.

    “He’s a lovely character, he’s a bit playful and he bounces around with me sometimes, but it’s nice that he’s enjoying himself,” said Shane.

    “I had Cato Boy in Arezzo for three weeks, he jumped very well down there. He’s in great form this year. He’s 10 now and he’s maturing, he’s giving me a really good feeling.

    “He’s very fresh, which is a good way to have them, so now it’s just a case of getting a bit more experience in a few more rings, just to get him crafty in the ring.

    “It’s great to be here in Windsor, it’s a fantastic show. To open our account with a win is always good, we just have to hope for a couple more wins!”

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