SUSAN Fitzpatrick finished third in the four-star €95,000 Suzuki Grand Prix at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain last Sunday afternoon, where victory went to Brazil’s Bernardo Cardoso de Resende Alves.
Some 50 of the best riders started over the big 1.55m track and just five were able to clear all the fences inside the time allowed to progress to the jump-off. Two of those were for Ireland – Fitzpatrick and Cameron Hanley; Britain were represented by Holly Smith while Sara Vingralkova made it through for the Czech Republic.
However, only Cardoso de Resende Alves and Smith were able to repeat their first round performance and produce a second clear again the clock. Riding Mosito van het Hellehof, the two-time Brazilian Olympian edged out Smith by fractions of a second when breaking the beam in 40.29 to secure the top prize pot of €23,800.
Smith rode the 12-year-old gelding Fruselli to the runner-up position in 40.81 seconds. Kilkenny-based Susan Fitzpatrick guided Isabelle De Melo’s 13-year-old French gelding Verdict de Kezeg to an excellent round in 41.97 seconds but an unfortunate pole on the floor meant she had to settle for third place and €14,280 in prize money.
Mayo’s Cameron Hanley also faulted once with the Cian O’Connor-bred Irish Sport Horse gelding ESI Toulouse to finish fourth and earn €9,520. By Livello out of Catina (Quasimodo van de Molendreef), the gelding has been placed in the top eight of all four four-star Grands Prix at the venue, including finishing third at the end of February.
Fitzpatrick and Verdict de Kezeg finished second in Friday’s 1.50m jump-off when one of seven clears against the clock, breaking the beam in 39.13 seconds to earn €5,100. Belgium’s Dominique Hendrickx landed victory in 38.19 seconds aboard Koriano van Klapscheut.
Two victories for Pender
Mikey Pender landed two four-star victories at the venue. The first came on St Patrick’s Day when he galloped to victory in the 1.45m Table A with Marion Hughes’ home-bred mare HHS Fortune (Catoki x Ard VDL Douglas). In a massive class of 99 starters, the pair were the fastest of 46 clear rounds in 57.40 seconds.
Britain’s William Whitaker finished runner-up with Jalellah OL (0/ 60.68), ahead of Cork’s Billy Twomey with DXB Legend (0/ 61/10).
Pender then won Friday’s 1.45m two-phase class, again aboard the 11-year-old HHS Fortune, this time beating Britain’s Ellen Whitaker into second place with Fiona des Hayettes.
Anthony Condon landed victory in Saturday’s 1.40m Table A with Ajaccienne. His time of 63.16 seconds was good enough to keep Portugal’s Duarte Seabra in second place with Carol Gee’s eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Fernhill Check Your Pocket (Simba x Cavalier Royale) who was bred by Mr and Mrs Alan Wheeler.
Galway’s Michael Duffy was another four-star winner at the venue. He guided Sharmini Christina Ratnasingham’s Lumbumbo to victory in Thursday’s 1.35m Table A.
Richard Howley was fourth in Sunday’s 1.50m jump-off class. He rode the 12-year-old stallion Fame to one of 11 double clear rounds in the 20-horse jump-off to earn €3,000. Victory went to New Zealand’s Bruce Goodin with Bäckatorps Danny V.
Following two wins the previous week, Daniel McAlinden scored a runner-up finish in Sunday’s 1.35m two-phase with the the nine-year-old gelding AHG Whiterock Doctor Cruise (Indoctro x Cruising), who was bred by Ann Gannon Clancy.
Among other Irish riders to record good results last week at the venue was 19-year-old Seamus Hughes Kennedy who was third in Sunday’s 1.45m jump-off with his mother Claire’s 10-year-old ISH mare Cuffesgrange Cavadora (Z Wellie 71 x Luidam), bred by Eamonn Sheehan. The pair were among 12 double clears in the 16-horse jump-off which was won by Sweden’s Alexander Zetterman aboard Triston Hastak.
Emily Turkington slotted into fifth place with Cornet, Donald Loughran’s eight-year-old grey gelding by Cornet’s Prinz.