Irish-bred horses carried Britain’s riders to victory in the second leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Europe Division 2 league in Odense, Denmark, on Friday.
All four of the horses were sold at various times through Goresbridge Horse Sales.
The team of Tim Page, riding Santa Cruise, Harriet Nuttall and A Touch of Imperious, Jessie Drea and Touchable, and Holly Gillott with Dougie Douglas finished with 12 faults, ahead of Belgium on 16, and France, also on 16 faults but with a slower combined time.
Tim Page made a brilliant recovery when following his first-round 16-fault effort with just a single mistake at his second attempt with Santa Cruise while Harriet Nuttall added just four faults to her opening clear with A Touch of Imperious so Jessie Drea and Touchable, who had faulted just once in the opening round, didn’t have to jump again. They had it all sewn up with their 12-fault finishing score.
Touchable, a 13-year-old mare is by James Kernan’s Olympic Games mount Touchdown, and was bred in County Kildare by Dr Noel Cawley out of his Irco Mena mare Irco Rain.
Drea has had various successes with Touchable, including second in the Lisbon CSIO3* Nations Cup, second in the Wettenhall CSI3* Grand Prix (behind Ireland’s Billy Twomey) and winning the Les Talent Hermès Under 25 team competition.
“I think the reason we won was because of our Irish horses!” Drea said
“They made the difference and were consistent all day which is what they are renowned for – staying competitive all the time!”
Page’s Santa Cruise II is sired by Robert Whitaker’s Junior and Young Rider European Championship team gold medalist Randi. The 10 year old grey gelding is out of the mare Tamerarra by Hartwell Stud resident sire Cruising, and was bred in Co. Kildare by McCann’s Hartwell Stud.
Gilliott, trains with team Chef d’Equipe Di Lampard, said she has built her entire string of horses around the nine-year-old Dougie Douglas who was foot-perfect. Her career with Dougie has been interrupted a couple of times, first after the birth of her daughter, Rosie, when the horse was a five-year-old and then when she broke her leg when he was seven. “I had to have seven operations because the leg was so badly broken but I got back riding as quickly as I could each time. It meant that he got a few long breaks during his career so far, but maybe that has kept him fresher!” she said.
The combination previously showed their worthiness of selection on May 4 by winning the Chepstow CSI2* Grand Prix on the back of a successful Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera.
Bred in County Limerick by John O’Brien, Dougie Douglas is a 2005 gelding by Ard VDL Douglas out of Neils Girl, by High Roller.
Asked is she will be fighting for a place on future British teams, she replied, “I will have to wait and see what the selectors say. It’s a battle to get into 3 and 4-Star shows, I’ve got to get my ranking up but I’m so happy after today. It was always my dream to ride for Great Britain and I can hardly believe we won – I’m still waiting to wake up!” she said.
“Selection was based on performances earlier in the year, if you had a good horse and you were consistent then you were considered for the team.”
Her team-mate Nuttall was equally ecstatic. The 24-year-old from Somerset in England was reserve for the British Young Riders squad but never actually made it into a team before so Friday’s test was a big one.
Talking about A Touch of Imperious, she said: “he’s by Touchdown out of a Cavalier Royale mare [Cavimperius], I have had him for five years now. I produced him as a youngster and have been doing the Stairway Series at County Shows. He’s an unbelievable horse – at 17.3hh he’s not really a girl’s ride, but he’s very scopey and talented and he deserves to do well.” A Touch of Imperious is now 10, and was bred Monaghan’s Leo Rice.
“He’s never been a winner, he has jumped double-clear in 3-Star Grand Prix and he was third in the Hickstead Derby Trial last year and third in the Stairway series,” Nuttall said.
This year the combination has been placed in classes in Vilamoura, Oliva and most recently Maubeuge.