Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker won the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Suzuki at the Spring MET.
Holly Smith (GBR) and the 9-year-old Irish bred gelding Quality Old Joker (OBOS Quality x Slyguff Joker VII) won Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Suzuki at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour after a lightening fast jump-off.
The sun was shining over the Valencia Arena, as 54 horse-and-rider combinations lined up for the 1.45m Grand Prix. Italy’s Elio Travagliati had set a well build first round track, and in the end eleven of the riders moved on to the jump-off – six of them representing Great Britain, three Ireland and two Italy.
As third to go against the clock, Alex Duffy (IRL) put some serious pressure on those to come. Aboard WCE Cruco (Cruising x Darco), Duffy tightened the turns wherever he could and put in a real gallop on the last stretch to stop the clock at 35.27 seconds – a time that looked almost impossible to beat.
Great Britain’s Tim Wilks and Jemma Kirk, as well as Italy’s Emanuele Massimiliano Bianchi all followed with clear rounds – but could not quite catch up with Duffy. Closest came Bianchi – runner-up in week one’s Grand Prix – who slotted in behind the leader with a time of 36.18 seconds on the 13-year-old mare Zycalin W (Berlin x Carthago).
As next in the ring, Holly Smith made good use of Quality Old Joker’s big stride. Taking all the risk on the last stretch, the 27-year-old British rider managed the seemingly impossible and shaved the time down to 35.10 seconds to take over the lead – pushing Duffy down to second and Bianchi down to third. None of those to come could catch Smith, who could cash in 7500 Euro for her victory as well as valuable Longines Ranking points.
Smith – producer of world class jumper Dougie Douglas that she rode to victory in both the CSIO3* Nations Cup and Grand Prix in Odense back in 2014 – has yet again brought a talent up to top level. Quality Old Joker has been a consistent deliverer of good results over the last year, with placings up to 1.50m level. The gelding also won the Puissance in London and Birmingham in 2016, and today marked his first international Grand Prix victory.
Earlier in the week, the young horses had their finals of the Spring MET 1. Jean-Christophe de Grande (BEL) won the final for the 7-year-old horses aboard the Zangersheide-bred stallion Dorus du Domain Z (Diamant de Semilly x Latus II), while the 6-year-old final had a home win courtesy of Manuel Pinto (ESP) on the Swiss-bred stallion Credo-Blue (Chacco-Blue x Darco). Best of the 5-year-olds was Hannoveraner-mare Bella Brown (Balou du Rouet x Lordanos) ridden by Matteo Checchi (ITA).
Source: Mediterranean Equestrian Tour / Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com