The Irish-bred horse who sold to the US late last year for a record-breaking price has won a big class with his new rider.
Dougie Douglas, who was sold at auction for €1.4 million ($US1.5m) by British rider Holly Gillott and co-owner Graham Smith, won the $50,000 National Grand Prix on week six of Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival with new rider Katie Dinan.
Dougie Douglas’s sale price at Ireland’s Goresbridge Supreme Sale of Showjumpers last November set a new record for a public auction in the country.
There were just three clear rounds from 20 starters over the Richard Jeffery course. Harrie Smolders was first to go over the short course and set the pace with a clear round in 41.77 seconds to eventually finish second aboard Aiyetoro. Katie Dinan was next to go aboard Dougie Douglas and crossed the finish line in the winning time of 39.59 seconds. Last to go, Wilton Porter placed third with his four-fault round in 40.09 seconds aboard Patriot.
Dinan has been competing Dougie Douglas, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (ARD VDL Douglas / High Roller) since the beginning of January, after buying the horse from Gillott, who had been riding the horse for most of his career from the age of four onwards.
“I must say that she did an unbelievable job producing him because he is a joy to ride, and he seems to love show jumping as much as I do,” Dinan said. “He has had a lot of experience on big grass fields, so it was always my plan to jump him in the grand prix here on the grass field this week. I am very happy with how it went. I could not have hoped for it to go better and he loved being out there.”
Dougie Douglas has a lot of experience jumping on grass fields, which Dinan explained made her job a little easier.
“He is very brave,” she noted. “This class used to be a derby, and originally I was hoping it still was a derby, but it was nice that they included the hedge jump, and the water jump, and the planks. It was something a little bit different for the horses and to diversify our winter for the horses is great.”
Dinan is completing her final semester at Harvard University and looks forward to getting back to riding full-time in May. She has been training with Swiss equestrian and Olympic team silver medalist Beat Mändli for two years.