Great Britain’s top three female showjumpers Holly Smith, Amanda Derbyshire and Laura Renwick each won a big-money grand prix at the weekend, sending out positive signs in a crucial year for the sport where Olympic qualification is the big target.
In Wellington, Florida, Amanda Derbyshire won the $134,000 Horseware Ireland grand prix with relatively new ride Roulette BH, for whom “the big aim is 2020”.
She finished fastest in an all-female jump-off with Gochman Sport Horses’ 10-year-old gelding by Moschino, previously ridden by Ben Walker and Phillip Miller, whom she describes as “very, very strong”.
“I was really lucky in the double at the end — I didn’t have much control by then — but luck was on my side,” she said. “For the past nine months, we’ve been working on rideability so in the jump-off I can actually let him go.
“We took it pretty slow last summer, and we didn’t face him at all the big stuff. I think by doing that we’ve trusted each other. He’s jumped three grands prix here [at the Winter Equestrian Festival], and he’s been clear every time. We have big plans.”
British success in Europe
Holly Smith’s victory came with her WEG partner Hearts Destiny at the CSI4* Suzuki grand prix on the Sunshine Tour in Spain. She was pitted against seven of the world’s leading riders in the jump-off but rocketed home clear, a full second quicker than her rivals.
“My horse is exceptional, this is the first grand prix that we have won together and I am delighted with him,” she said. “There was a long gallop to an enormous upright, followed by a very tight turn back afterwards and I was unsure if I should do one or two strides. But I went for one stride knowing I had to go for it if I wanted to win!”
The King's Cup at the Longines Royal International Horse Show has been won by a lady rider for the first
The unusually hairy competitor kept up with runners from the 7km to the 9km marker, where she was eventually caught
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Sealing a sensational weekend, Laura Renwick triumphed in the 1.50m CSI3* grand prix at Vilamoura, Portugal on the 11-year-old Dublin V, a son of Vigaro who was previously ridden by Anthony Condon, William Whitaker and Simon Crippen. She beat her countryman Will Fletcher on Persimmon V into second place.
Don’t miss the full reports on all this week’s showjumping action in Horse & Hound, out Thursday 21 March.