Rio Olympics to be Hello Sanctos’ final championship

Hello Sanctos’ co-owner Lord Harris has confirmed the 14-year-old will be available for Scott Brash to ride in Rio — but it will be the gelding’s final Championship appearance.

The talented son of Quasimodo Van De Molendreef  is owned jointly by Lord and Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham. Last year, he helped the former world number one Scottish rider become the first to claim the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping. Scott pocketed a €1million (£776,600) bonus prize for winning the grands prix at Geneva, Aachen and Spruce Meadows.

“If he is going well, and with horses you never know, we will plan to get him to Rio in peak fitness. He’s now 14, so we have decided this year’s Olympics will be his last Championship show,” Lord Harris told H&H.

“For what he has already achieved, he doesn’t owe us anything and we are not going to jump him to death. If he doesn’t win another penny for us it won’t matter.”

Lord Harris is looking forward to Sanctos making an Olympic comeback — the gelding was part of the gold medal-winning team with Scott in London 2012.

Scott wants to be at the Olympics to help the British team win gold. To also win an individual gold medal would be unbelievable for me as an owner,” added Lord Harris. The businessman’s Olympic debut as an owner came at the 1988 Seoul Games, when David Broome rode his horse Countryman.

We won’t be retiring Sanctos after the Olympics, we’ll keep him jumping and may aim him at Spruce Meadows in September but he won’t be doing anymore big five-day shows.”

Sanctos — who was voted by H&H readers as the 2015 horse of the year — is currently jumping on the Sunshine Tour with Scott.

“They’ve been competing in 1.45m classes and Sanctos is apparently very fresh. He’s back from a two-month break — before Spain his last show was Geneva in December,” said Lord Harris. “He doesn’t actually jump that well at home, but at a show the bigger the jumps the better. He loves a big atmosphere.”

Lord and Lady Harris, along with Lady Kirkham, have plenty of exciting back-up horsepower for the West Sussex-based showjumper.

“Hello Forever is only 10, he can be a bit spooky but he has won a lot,” added Lord Harris. “With Hello M’Lady too, the pair will be aimed at grands prix this year. Our mare Ursula XII is also coming back to competition and the seven-year-old Hello Mr President is also a prospect.”