Hester, Hoketsu and Matute Win Big Tour on Final Sunshine Tour Week

Wed, 03/19/2008 - 00:00
2008 Sunshine Tour CDI

During the final week of competition at the 2008 Sunshine Tour CDI in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain, Carl Hester, Hiroshi Hokestu and Juan Matute were the winners of the big tour classes.

Carl Hester’s riding stepped up a gear in the final week with five wins and a second place overall during the competition. Partnering his 15-year-old Dolendo , he achieved another impressive grand prix score of 72.542%, just short of last week’s personal best.

“Having team captain Richard Davison here really helps as he puts on a bit of pressure, so I had to step it up a gear and Dolendo came up with the goods,” said Carl, who earned more than 74% from Olympic judge Barnabas Mandi.

Carl was on unbeatable form with the eight-year-old Hanoverian mare Dea II, taking the owner junior prelim and team tests with ease. His third ride, Sasha Stewart’s 10-year-old Oldenburg mare Bicachu, won the prix st georges and intermediaire I and took the runner-up slot in the small tour final.

“I made a couple of mistakes in the final. It is a shame as she has worked so hard over the past three weeks,” said Carl.

The Grand Prix Special was won by Japanese Hiroshi Hoketsu on the brilliant mare Whisper. Trained by German Ton de Ridder, Hoketsu scored 72,120% and ranked almost 2% ahead of second placed Juan Matute.

Hoketsu is taking Europe by storm being the first Japanese rider ever to score such high marks internationally against the world's best combinations (not only in Spain, but also in Germany). Hoketsu, who turns 67 this month, took part in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics where he finished 40th in the show jumping event. He has now been selected for the Japanese dressage team that will compete at the 2008 Games in Hong Kong and his goal is not just to participate, but to place high.

My horse 'Whisper' didn't understand my instructions in the beginning," he said. "But she appears to have decided 'I'll give this old guy a chance' and we're steadily improving."

The Grand Prix Kur to Music was won by Spanish Juan Matute. Aboard the Wie Weltmeyer offspring Wie Atlantico, Matute scored 74,000 placing at the top of the leader board ahead of Spanish team mate Jordi Domingo on Prestige (by Ferro). Matute and his chestnut Hanoverian gelding are members of the Spanish dressage team and they competed at the 2007 European Championships in Turin, Italy.

More Photos from the 2008 Sunshine Tour in the image gallery below

Related Links
Scores 2008 Sunshine Tour CDI: Week One - Week Two - Week Three
Ferrer-Salat and Hester Push for Power in the 2008 Sunshine Tour
Complete Eurodressage Coverage of the 2005 Sunshine Tour