British-based Peter Moloney headed an Irish top three in the top-billed Longines final grand prix with Team Harmony’s Ornellaia to conclude the six-week Spanish sunshine tour in spectacular style.
It was a great achievement for Peter, who has quickly cemented a partnership with this 14-year-old For Pleasure mare in just four weeks. The pair started their new alliance with a 4* grand prix victory at the beginning of March here at Vejer and again came to the fore in the feature class which marked the end of the 25th anniversary of this show.
Eleven riders found all the answers to course-designer Javier Trenor’s 1.55m round one track to go forward to the jump-off, and the crowds were on the edge of their seats as riders took increasing risks to post faster and faster times.
But no-one was quicker or smoother than Peter as he guided Ornellaia into their second grand prix win in the space of three weeks. Coincidentally, Javier built the track both times Peter has won.
“I’m pretty surprised to be back on top of the podium to be honest, I didn’t think I’d win the first grand prix, let alone win this one,” said a modest Peter, who debuted his International partnership with this mare on this tour.
“It couldn’t have been better and I really can’t believe it. The mare gave everything today. I was pretty tight to the time in the first round but we got away with it and we really made sure we went for it in the second round to get the win. I have to thank Team Harmony and Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein of Jordan for having trust in me and giving me these good horses and this chance – without their support none of this would have been possible.
“It has been six weeks here with 11 horses and we have got so much work done and found out who the horses are and we’ve had time to gel with them – especially this mare – and now we are really set up o go on with the season.”
Fellow British-based Irishman Anthony Condon came within 0.12 sec of the time on the Hales family’s home-bred 13-year-old stallion SFS Aristio (Arko III/Voltaire) to take second place with Ireland’s Susan Fitzpatrick taking third on Fellow Castlefield.
Hard-luck story of the class must go to late-drawn Holly Smith on the super-scopey Hearts Destiny. The pair were in contention with almost a second in hand but the Heart Throb 10-year-old – bred in Staffordshire by mum and daughter Barbara Scott and Steph Callwood – just clipped the front rail of the final oxer, and it fell. It dropped the pair from a certain victory to seventh. Christopher Frazer was also in the final mix but the penultimate vertical fell to put the Quintero nine-year-old Quisandro into ninth.
A delighted Kayleigh Watts cruised to the top in the Equipe ladies invitational 1.40m to mark her fourth victory here at Vejer de la Frontera to round off a fabulous Spanish sunshine tour for Kayleigh.
Fifteen of the 49 starters made their way into the jump-off but Kayleigh had the upperhand all the way on the Gelvin Clover nine-year-old mare to secure the win with 0.22 sec to spare. Ellie Hall-McAteer was less than two sec away for fourth on Crisanta with Leonie Aitkenhead on LSS Barbados and Deborah Jackson’s Chicca slotted into seventh and eighth and Alison Barton posted the steadiest of the jump-off clears for 10th on Billy Rembrandt. Four faults dropped Scarlett Charles and Damn Smooth to 13th.
Jay Halim was a fraction from victory in the invitational small tour 1.30m and had to settle for second with Abrisco. Thirteen of the 24 starters contended the jump-off with Jay and the Unistar/Zeus 14-year-old Abrisco chasing hard, but they proved 0.31 sec adrift to fill the runner-up spot. Elizabeth Lutener steered Flinstering Du Monden into fifth and Lauren Turnbull also posted a double clear to take seventh on VIP. Laura Johnson returned the fastest time of the class on Euphoria HST but a rail fell to demote them from victory to 11th place.
Robert Bevis eased Kondy into fourth in the world ranking 1.45m. Nine of the 38 starters came forward to the jump-off with Robert and the 10-year-old Kondy finishing 0.73 sec behind the winner, The USA’s Kerry McCahill on Westbrook. Scarlett claimed fifth on Chinta Van Geluut Z and her sister Sienna guided Controe into seventh on four faults.
Photos courtesy Sunshine tour