Pender prevails in remarkable Spanish Grand Prix win

  • 19 March 2023, 16:21

Mikey Pender won a remarkable 1.55m CSI4* Suzuki Grand Prix in Vejer de la Frontera on Sunday afternoon – as four Irish riders filled the top 10.

Kildare’s Pender, on board the Irish Sport Horse HHS Calais, was the only rider to jump clear in the opening round on Spain’s Sunshine Tour and claimed victory without needing a jump off.

HHS Calais (ISH), bred by Ita Brennan and owned by Bravo Hughes Ltd, jumped clear in 78.09 seconds on what proved an extremely difficult course as, one by one, combinations failed to complete the course faultless.

In the end, the Irish pair saw off Germany’s Michael Viehweg and Contario in second, who jumped clear but picked up a single time fault. Spain’s Santagio Nunez Riva was third on board Chakira Z, with two time penalties.

Mikey Pender after winning the Grand Prix in Vejer de la Frontera on HHS Calais (ISH)

Three other Irish riders filled the top ten, taking a share of the near €100,000 prize – Jason Foley finished in fourth place on Irish Sport Horse Rockwell RC after they picked up four faults in a time 77.02 seconds.

Billy Twomey also picked up four faults on board Chat Botte ED and finished in a time of 78.92 seconds for ninth place, with Richard Howley one place back in tenth after Messento dropped one pole and finished in a time of 79.73 seconds.

HHS Calais (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Cavalier Royale (HOLST) out of MHS OBOS Cruise (ISH) by OBOS Quality (OLD). Breeder: Ita Brennan, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Bravo Hughes Ltd. Rider: Michael Pender (IRL).

Rockwell RC (ISH) – 2014 mare by Kannan (KWPN) out of Urban Sea (ISH) by Guidam (SF). Breeder: Ronan Byrne, Co. Kilkenny. Owner: Sean Cubitt. Rider: Jason Foley (IRL).