‘Unbelievable’: 49-year-old lawyer steps up from 1.20m to win her first five-star and Irish rider answers ‘unbelievably brave call’

  • In this week’s international showjumping news round-up, we celebrate grand prix success for Irish rider Jessica Burke and mega gelding Express Trend, while the return of the Rolex grand prix results in a “pinch me” moment for the winner, who will now be targeting the Rolex Grand Slam. There were also incredible scenes at WEF when a 49-year-old lawyer won a five-star grand prix at her first attempt, having only ever wanted to jump 1.20m.

    Read on for a round-up of this week’s international showjumping news and results.

    Showjumping news: Jessica Burke and Express Trend scorch to victory

    Ireland’s Jessica Burke teamed up with Liam Nicholas’s home-bred 14-year-old gelding Express Trend to win the CSI4* Equine America grand prix on the Andalucia Sunshine Tour in Spain. She smashed the target set by Britain’s Simon Crippen on Handsome (Toulon x Phin-Phin) from first draw after a three-way jump-off for this ranking class and Paris Olympic qualifier.

    “It was an unbelievably brave and correct call by the team here at the Sunshine Tour to run the grand prix on the grass today – the ground is unbelievable,” said Jessica, describing the track as “very difficult” and “quite trappy”. “My horse feels in brilliant form. He hadn’t jumped on grass since Dublin last year, but once I jumped two fences in the warm-up, he felt amazing so I was quite confident.

    “Express Trend is 14 and it’s only now I feel that we have the right ability, and I think that helped us a lot today.”

    There were also wins for Matt Sampson with Geneve R on the big tour and Ellen Whitaker riding the nine-year-old Cornet Obolensky mare Korlenski in the 1.50m Ashford Farm Trophy ranking class.

    Willem Greve (NED) riding Highway TN N.O.P. celebrates winning the Rolex Grand Prix 's-Hertogenbosch

    Willem Greve (NED) riding Highway TN N.O.P. celebrates winning the Rolex Grand Prix at ‘s-Hertogenbosch

    “I have to pinch myself – this is unbelievable”: a memorable Rolex grand prix win and new Grand Slam contender

    Next in this week’s showjumping news, we turn to Sunday’s Rolex grand prix at The Dutch Masters, which was won by home rider Willem Greve and Highway TN NOP after a thrilling nine-way jump-off, in which world number one Henrik von Eckermann and the great King Edward finished runner-up in their second big class on the trot. The Dutchman made masterful use of his last draw to swoop home just 0.04sec faster than his Swedish rival. He becomes the new contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping.

    “I have to pinch myself – this is unbelievable,” said Willem. “Words cannot describe how I am feeling. I am so thankful for my horse for his courage and his mentality. It means so much to me to win in front of my home crowd – the history here is incredible, and it is an honour to add my name to the list of winners. I have been coming to the Dutch Masters since a was a small child, so to win here is a dream come true.”

    Graham Gillespie and Veneno win the CSI2* grand prix in this week's showjumping news

    Graham Gillespie and Veneno (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet) win the CSI2* grand prix on the Spring MET Tour III.

    Showjumping news: Graham Gillespie triumphs

    On the Spring MET III, Oliva Nova, Spain, Graham Gillespie opened proceedings with CSI2* 1.45m grand prix victory on Veneno (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet) after a 15-way jump-off.

    “Veneno has been on great form and I’m delighted with the win,” said the British showjumper. “It was a great week for the whole team.”

    Full-time lawyer Luciana Lossio from Brazil wins her first attempt at a five-star grand prix at WEF

    Full-time lawyer Luciana Lossio from Brazil wins her first attempt at a five-star grand prix at WEF.

    “I just wanted to jump 1.20m”: 49-year-old lawyer’s victory on five-star debut

    Brazilian showjumper Luciana Lossio, 49, won at her first attempt at a five-star in the $385,000 Bainbridge Companies grand prix at Wellington International’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with her long-time partner, 14-year-old Lady Louise Jmen.

    “This is unbelievable – I’ve been with this mare for six years and in the beginning I just wanted to jump 1.20m, but we became so much more,” she said. “We went higher and higher and today I’m here in my first five-star and winning alongside these riders that I just enjoy watching.

    “Lady Louise is so confident. She doesn’t change from day to night or from the grass to sand. She’s perfect,” said Luciana, who works full-time as a lawyer in Brazil; many of her family had travelled from her home town to watch. “Tonight was our night.”

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