British success in the Spanish sunshine

  • A strong British contingent is returning home from the Spanish Sunshine Tour in high spirits after enjoying a string of success across the five shows in Vejer de la Frontera.

    John Renwick has been impressively consistent with Julia Biddle’s Cushty and Coeur, with a number of wins to his credit. John also came close to stealing the £25,000 first prize in the invitational big tour class at the final show, but Coeur touched the final pole to leave them the highest-placed British pair in eighth place.

    Nick Skelton (pictured) has enjoyed a successful few weeks in Spain with a string of good placings and wins, including winning a small grand prix and a jump-off class with Russel. Nick and Russel were also a close second in the final grand prix behind Brazilian rider Rodrigo Sarmento. Nick took a win and a third place with Pandur to make up two British one-two-threes in two-phase classes, while Arko III was third in a grand prix class.

    Mark Armstrong reached top form in the third show on the tour where he headed the small grand prix on Karen Walker’s mare Thesaura, before being placed fifth in the main grand prix with his Athens-short-listed horse Graf Gold. Mark also enjoyed some good results with Elise during the five weeks.

    The younger members of the Whitaker family continued to demonstrate their considerable talent with Robert claiming wins on Karina, Qualite and Caprigode, while his cousin Ellen was successful in a range of classes. In the final show, Robert beat his father John into third place in the small grand prix, which Brazilian rider Carlos Ribas won on Rocky.

    Another young rider who will be worth watching in the future was Hollie Bohringer, who won the small tour grand prix at the fourth show on Atlanta Z. Hollie, a former pony European gold medalist, rode terrific double clear to head a nine-horse jump-off.

    Other British riders who have enjoyed success while in Vejer de la Frontera include Ricki Hill, Jackson Reed-Stephenson, John Renwick’s wife Laura, Henry Turrell, Paul Barker, Guy Williams and David McPherson.

  • The report from the fourth Sunshine Tour show is in the current issue of Horse & Hound (25 March), while the final report will be published in next week’s issue (1 April).
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