Italian Andre Sakakini won the first Gran Prix of the XXI Sunshine Tour, a 1.55 metre jump. He finished three tenths of a second ahead of American Reed Kessler and Cos I Can, who took second place with a time of 38.91 seconds. Brazilian Yuri Mansur took the remaining spot on the podium with a time of 40.37 seconds riding Cornetto K.
The jubilant winner of the class declared he is “very happy” with the final result. “It’s been only three months since we acquired this new horse, and this is a spectacular result in his first Gran Prix. We have been very fortunate with this purchase and have very positive expectations after this victory.”
He also described the routes designed by the prodigious head of arenas, Guilherme Nogueira, as “excellent,” the same man charged with designing the classes of the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, and who was responsible for the most important routes of the Sunshine Tour last week, including today’s Gran Prix. Sakakini said, “the combinations have been very successful and the distances very good. Overall, the design has seemed great to me.”
Nogueira created a route of three obstacles with two doubles and two verticals of 1.55 metres as the key points. “Since it’s the first week of the competition, I have prepared accessible and smooth classes, although seeing how well they jumped on Friday and the extremely high level of the pairs, I prepared a more technical class today with higher jumps,” explained the head of arenas. This renowned international designer is at his fourth consecutive Sunshine Tour, and praised the quality of the grass arenas, in particular the main David Broome arena. “The facilities at Montenmedio are fantastic overall, and the quality of this arena is simply incredible.”
In the 1.45 metre class, Briton Guy Williams with Casper de Muze were victorious, setting a time of 21.8 seconds in the second phase, a second below the time of Frenchman Julien Epaillard, who took second position with Ratina Kervec in 22.79 seconds. Briton Mark Armstrong completed the podium, setting a time of 23.44 seconds with Frisbee.
Belgian Gregory Wathelet added another victory at this year’s Tour, this time in the 1.40 metre with Lilly Lordanos. Briton Tim Page with Hi Midnight Millie and Colombian Nicolás Toro with Tarzan Du Val Tibermont completed the other positions of honour.
The 1.35 metre and 1.30 metre classes were dominated by the British. Page with Steady the Helm won the former, followed by compatriots Thomas Graham Gillespie with Casino Royal and Alicia Smallman with Nadzaro Bliniere, who came second and third respectively. In the latter, Douglas Duffin with Zorrro V was fastest, followed by Sally Hopkinson with Arcadia III and Tim Page with Ferndale Special K.
The Classic Tour Gran Prix also took place today, the most important amateur class of the week. Moroccan Ali Al Ahrach with Quinquina Du Moulin took first place on a podium which had a clear Spanish influence, Enrique Camiruaga and Beatriz de Llanza took second and third places with Penta and Rafale des Hoteaux.
Press Release Sunshine Tour