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Who knows horses better: Their riders or their breeders?

Scott Brash

By Jean Llewellyn
Photography: Peter Llewellyn, and courtesy Rolex

To date, only one showjumping rider has managed to pocket the $1,000,000 bonus by winning three consecutive Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping classes in their Majors: Aachen (GER), Geneva (SUI), Spruce Meadows (CAN), with the Dutch Masters joining the series in 2018.

In 2015, modest British Olympian Scott Brash wrote himself into the record books when he sensationally won the prestigious CP International presented by Rolex – a much-coveted Grand Prix that traditionally concludes the Spruce Meadows Masters every September.
On that dreamlike day, Scott proved not only to himself but to the world that it was possible to win the largest and richest of 1m60 Grand Prix competitions; not once, not twice, but three times in a row.
Scott’s journey began in Europe’s largest indoor showjumping arena at CHI Geneva in December 2014, in which 13 horse/rider combinations progressed to a hotly contested jump-off. Riding Hello Sanctos, and with less than a one-second advantage over his nearest rivals – Frenchman Roger Yves Bost riding Qoud’Coeur de La Loge and Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with Casall Ask – Scott recorded a brilliant victory, which coincidentally followed their win two days earlier in the 14th Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final.
On the last day of May 2015, also riding Hello Sanctos, the Brit scored his second hard-fought win, this time fractionally beating home-crowd favourite Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour by one-third of a second. The seven-horse jump-off also included a three-time previous winner of this historic trophy, Ludger Beerbaum (1996, 2002, 2003), and future Rolex Testimonees Daniel Deusser (GER) and Kent Farrington (USA).
Fast forward some 13 weeks to September 13, and another equally momentous day during the acclaimed Spruce Meadows Masters. Many will recall the moment Scott Brash entered the ring, given that no previous horse in the second round had jumped double clear. Thanks to recording the fastest time in the first round, Scott and Hello Sanctos were, some might say, enviably in the last-to-go position. Many remarked that you could hear a pin drop when the pair entered the ring, followed by a deafeaning cheer just over one faultless minute later. They had achieved what many had thought was impossible, and in stunning style and, once again, beating some of the best horse/rider combinations in the world.

Who is Hello Sanctos

Now enjoying a well-earned retirement at Scott Brash’s farm, Hello Sanctos was bred in Belgium by Willy Taets and registered with the Belgian Sport Horse studbook under the name Sanctos van het Gravenhof (Quasimodo van de Molendreef - Nasia van het Gravenhof x Nabab de Rêve). Ironically, he was born on May 13 – a recurring number that brought nothing but success in his progress to the Rolex Grand Slam.
A maternal grandson of Nabab de Rêve, who also sired 2010 World Champion Vigo d’Arsouilles (BWP: out of Illico d’Arsouilles x Fleuri du Manoir [SF]), Sanctos’s competition career didn’t follow today’s more traditional route via young horse classes, but he appeared on the showjumping scene in CSI3* classes at the age of eight under the saddle of American Peter Wylde. According to the breeder’s wife, Lieve Taets; Sanctos was sold for a small amount of money – he was very cheap. He looked nothing special and my parents didn’t expect much of him. One year later, following some notable placings up to 1m50, he moved to German Katharina Offel at a time when Ukrainian oligarch Aleksander Onyshchenko was buying great horses to represent a national team with imported riders... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber