Edwina Tops-Alexander’s showjumper Itot du Chateau is to be officially retired in July.
Described by his Australian rider as a “once-in-a-lifetime horse”, Itot du Chateau will be honoured at a ceremony at the Global Champions Tour event in Paris on Sunday, July 6, after the Gucci Gold Cup, “for the public to say goodbye to Itot”.
Itot, affectionately known as “Toti”, was bought by Edwina’s husband Jan Tops, President of the Longines Global Champions Tour, in 2007, and the formidable combination has been a fixture at the top of the world ranking for several years.
“I feel privileged to have ridden and competed with him all these years,” she said.
“From day one I always had a very positive feeling with Itot, but I never would have believed we would have so much success together. He is a rare animal with amazing qualities of stamina and agility, and a horse who never gives up.
“He has all the ingredients of a special athlete. I have been extremely fortunate to have a horse like that, and the right training and management from Jan gave us the opportunities to go so far.”
Itot has performed at the top level of show jumping with Tops-Alexander for six years, making history by winning the final of the Global Champions Tour in 2011 and 2012, together with many other Grand Prix and World Cup wins. The pair have together accumulated earnings of over €3 million in prize money. Itot also competed in two Olympic Games and the World Championships in 2010.
French-bred Itot, now aged 18, captured the hearts of equestrian fans worldwide and is hugely respected for his unique athletic ability in the competition arena despite his diminutive 1.57m height.
Jan Tops said: “There are only a very few times in a career in equestrian sport that you will see a horse like Itot. Two of the most successful years of his life were when he was 15 and 16 years old.”
The Selle Français gelding, by Le Tot De Semilly, is out of the Galoubet A mare Sophie du Chateau.
Itot’s extraordinary life has taken many twists and turns – aged only three, he was injured in a terrible car accident when he jumped out of his field in France and he still bears the scars today. But his indomitable spirit and courage in the competition arena won him fans all over the world.
He was formerly ridden at the highest level by French rider Michel Hecart, and Edwina was in Australia when Jan Tops bought the horse. “I never tried him. But Jan has such a good eye for a horse and such a good feeling for the right combination between rider and horse,” she said.