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Kiwi jumper second in Italian grand prix

August 3, 2010

Kiwi showjumper Samantha McIntosh finished second in a grand prix at the San Patrignano CSI 5* in Italy at the weekend.

Samantha McIntosh and Loxley, fourth equal in the AGA rider standings. © Kenneth Kraus/
Riding Loxley, the Belgium based 34-year-old were runner-up by only .34 of a second in the event.

With just weeks until the New Zealand showjumping team is named for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, McIntosh has timed her success perfectly.

Forty-three started the 1.6m grand prix, with nine going through to the jump-off, over an open but tricky course.

"It suited Loxley perfectly," said an elated McIntosh moments after the pocketing the €40,000 prize money.

"He's not the fastest horse by nature so the course has to suit him. We went as fast as we could. There were two inside turns you really had to commit to, to get inside a very tight time allowed. It's lucky I know Loxley so well and that we were clearly on the same page today."

McIntosh was sixth to go in the jump-off. Ahead of her eventual winner Mathijs Van Asten (Netherlands) and VDL Groep Chester Z had set a cracking pace that the others just couldn't match, stopping the clock at 39.45 seconds and double clear.

McIntosh left everything up, coming home in 39.79, with Australia's Chris Chugg on Vivant third in 40.39 seconds, and also clear. The top five were all double clear.

The result was even sweeter for McIntosh as it has been tough to get the much sought-after invitations needed for the top-flight five star shows.

"With everyone building up for Kentucky they are hard to come by at the moment."

She didn't have the New Zealand-owned Lindberg des Hayettes on the tour with her, but has been competing on her new stallion Jonkheer, an eight-year-old owned by Pal Milstein, who McIntosh works for near Brussels.

"He is a very exciting prospect," says McIntosh. "He's been jumping clear every day and opening a lot of eyes."

McIntosh and Loxley will next start at a CSI5* in Madrid in early September, with the games set to start September 25.

"Hopefully we have done enough for the selectors for WEG," she says.

McIntosh planned to save her celebrations until she got back to base - 20-hours drive time.



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