Michael Pender and ‘HHS Calais’, fly round the jump off to win the Invitational Andalucía Grand Prix
This talented Irish rider finishes off a brilliant time at the tour winning the testing 1.60m qualifier for the 2023 Europeans and the Paris Olympics.
What an impressive win in an impressive class for the young Irish rider, Michael Pender with the wonderful ‘HHS Calais’ in the Andalucía Invitational Grand Prix yesterday; the top class on the very last day of the Andalucía Sunshine Tour 2023, which has ben kindly sponsored by l’a Consejería de Turismo, Cultura y Deporte’ and co-financed by the European Union.
Michael was the very last rider to go in the jump off and rode a foot perfect and secure round winning elegantly in 36.84s on the wonderful ‘HHS Calais’ who is 12 and by ‘Cavalier Royale’ dam sire, ‘Obos Quality 004’ and owned by the Bravo Hughes Ltd.
Michael rides for the HHS Stud which, is jointly based between Kilkenny Ireland and Alcacer do Salhas in Portugal and they have had a long list of successes here at the Andalucía Sunshine tour this year, showing the sheer quality of their breeding programme and their riders. Run by Marion Hughes and Miguel Maria Bravo, who we interviewed the other day, the pedigrees of these two equestrians, are impeccable: ‘Marion and Miguel now devote their time to producing young horses bred at the Hughes Horse Stud up to International level ready for riders all over the globe’. And Miguel is also very well known for his ‘joie de vivre’. They must be beyond delighted with the long list of HHS winners here at Montenmedio and including some very promising youngsters, and we look forward to seeing these horses progress as their careers develop.
Michael told us, ‘It’s amazing to win the Grand Prix here in Sunshine Tour sponsored by the ‘Junta de Andalucía’. ‘Calais’ jumped outstanding yesterday, there was 12 in the jump off so it was a bit more difficult than last week (when he won the Suzuki GP class); last week I was lucky enough I didn’t have to jump off but this week I had to jump off. It was quite, fast the class, and I think it was a brilliant course. The jump off, maybe didn’t really suit me perfectly but we were lucky enough yesterday to come out with the right result. I think a lot of people knocked the vertical that was put in for the jump off, number 15. So, its absolutely incredible to win two Grand Prixs here in a row on Sunshine Tour and I think it, builds up our season amazing and I think we are ready to go to the big shows and thanks to the Sunshine Tour here for giving us the chance to hopefully build up for another brilliant season.
Our Course builder was Louis Konickx who told us earlier in the day ‘Today we have a 1.60 course, it’s a qualifier for the Olympics, that means that a requirement to be capable to do the Olympics in. So it’s tough. I think the course today is a course which you can gallop that gives confidence and gives nice sport and as you see we have the water jump, we have a triple bar we have a triple combination we have planks we have everything, all challenges in, so I hope we get nice sport’. And we surely did!
Duarte Seabra was second with a beautiful round from the 10yr old ‘Dourados 2’ by ‘Diarado’ x ‘Cornet Obolensky’, who is owned by Ronnoco Jump LTD. The young Canadian rider, Kara Chad also had a foot perfect round and took a well deserved third with ‘Igor GPH’ (‘Harley’ x ‘Crawford 5’). In fourth was French rider, Aurelien Leroy with ‘Vendome D’Ick’ (‘Arko III’ x ‘Chin Chin’) and in fifth, Irish, Niamh McEvoy with ‘Olivia de Muze N’ (‘El Torreo de Muze’ x ‘Lord Z’) who has also had a super tour.
The Invitational Medium Tour was a fast class and the winner was Dutch rider, Sanne Thijssen, she is another rider that is rarely off of the scoreboard here at the Andalucía Sunshine Tour 2023. She was riding ‘Con Quidam RB’, and this is their third big victory together. Irish, Richard Howley with the amazing ‘Mansini LTD’ was second and German, Sophie Hinners with ‘Addressee’ was third. Duarte Seabra was again in the rosettes with ‘HHS Washington’ in fourth and, in fifth, was Dutch rider, Kevin Jochems with ‘Christianus’.
It surely was Ireland’s day as the Invitational Small Tour was won by Patrick Hickey with ‘Emelee’,in a 14 rider jump off. Second was Spanish rider, Celia Cobo with ‘Alto du Roc’; Third was German, Nicola Pohl with ‘Fiona des Hayettes’; fourth, another Irish rider, Ciaran Nallon with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and fifth, British, Chris Smith with ‘Messarado Blue’.
The Ladies Invitational was sponsored by Equipe. The winner was British Nicole Lockhead Anderson with‘Emerald Irish Cruise’, and they received a new Equipe saddle as their prize! In second was Spanish, Inma Roquet Autonell with ‘Icenta del Maset’; third was American, Julie Welles with ‘Greatfull’; fourth, Sanne Thijssen with ‘Cupcake Z’ and in fifth was Swedish, Ebba Danielsson with ‘T-Gavoli Z’.
The 1.35, CSI1* was Invitational was won by Spanish rider, María Giralt Martínez with ‘City Meel’, Brazilian, Pedro Grandi Backheuser was second with ‘Hobbit du Houmier’; third was British Nicola Barry with ‘Be Caprivi’ and the Spanish riders, Miguel Álvarez-Bu Sylla Rodríguez with ‘Pirelli’ and Silvia Diego Pardo with ‘Ragga Muffin’ completed the podium.
That concludes the 2023 Andalucía Sunshine Tour, an edition with record participation; more than 3.500 caballos, 1.000 riders from all over the world. More than 2.5 million euros has been handed out in prize money over the nine weeks and almost 500 classes have taken place. All this data confirming that the Andalucía Sunshine Tour is firmly on the equestrian map, as one of the biggest and most important jumping tours in the whole of Europe.
Press release Andalucía Sunshine Tour 2023
Photo is by Equus Media – Michael Pender, the winner of Andalucía GP Final.