‘She’s just an absolute legend’: top mare makes winning return at London LGCT

  • The CSI2* Fiji Water grand prix at the London leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) was won by a breathtaking round from Nicole Lockhead Anderson with the world-beating mare Chilli.

    Continuing the theme of scorching jump-offs on day three of the London LGCT, nine combinations from three nations delivered an edge-of-your-seats decider for the €6,250 top prize in the finale of the two-star classes. But it was Holly Smith’s former stable jockey Nicole, who is now based with Tom and Jess Williams, who piloted the lightning-quick 10-year-old to victory, nearly 1sec faster than runner-up Ali Ramsay of Canada riding Bonita VD Keizershof Z. British rider Claire Beecroft claimed third on Kandora.

    “She’s just an absolute legend,” said Nicole of Tom Williams’ Colestus x Colorit German-bred mare, who built a global reputation having won the World Young Horse Breeding Championships in Lanaken as a five-year-old when ridden by Pippa Goddard, then finished runner-up in the contest as a six-year-old with Donald Whitaker in the saddle.

    Donald and Chilli won the newcomers final at Horse of the Year Show in 2018.

    London LGCT: ‘I stuck to my plan’

    Nicole took the reins earlier this year and the pair are on a winning streak, culminating in this crowning moment at the London LGCT on Sunday (21 August).

    “She’s naturally very, very fast,” said Nicole. “I just knew that I needed to give her every chance to jump the fences, I stuck to my plan to go clear and let her run and jump.

    “I probably did one extra stride to the last, but because she’s so fast, it doesn’t really matter.”

    Nicole paid tribute to Tom and Jess Williams, who she says have “some very nice horses” in their stable for her to ride.

    “I’m very lucky,” said Nicole, who was making her debut at the London LGCT. “We came here knowing she had a chance of winning and [my other horse] Miss Aragon has been on flying form too. It’s great to have the two of them to run alongside each other. I’m very grateful to Tom and Jess for all the opportunities.

    “Chilli is just a winner, an absolute winner.”

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