Brazil's Marlon Modolo Zanotelli started where he left off 12 months ago by being a winner at the CSI4* Bolesworth International on Thursday.
Zanotelli, who won more classes than any other rider during Bolesworth's 2015 event, took the 1.50 two-phase class sponsored by Equiline/Fearns Farm Partnership on the Diamant de Semilly-son Rock 'n Roll Semilly landing a top prize of £6,400.
And in doing so, he underlined the rich potential that could easily be converted into an appearance at a home Olympics in Rio later this summer. "The team looks good - Brazil has some good horses," Zanotelli said. "I would say we have about seven riders with a chance of making selection, and they all look good. It is a good group together, and everyone is motivated. Hopefully, I will be selected. An Olympics at home - and my first one - would be special."
Reflecting on his latest Bolesworth triumph after edging runner-up American Lillie Keenan and Super Sox (Salito x Silvio I) into second, with Britain's Chloe Aston on Kolibri Classic (Kolibri x For Joy) third, Zanotelli added: "He jumped very well, he is always doing a great job. He can do the tight turns very well."
Irish eyes were smiling at Bolesworth when Marion Hughes won the CSI4* 1.35 speed class, sponsored by NFU Mutual. A bumper field entered the afternoon's feature event, and Hughes showed all her experience to guide Heritage HHS Fortuna (Heritage Fortunus x Cavalier Royale) home in a time of 63.93 seconds.
Britain's Keith Shore, riding Zegreanne Z (Zandor Z x Jus de Pomme), led the chasing pack in second spot with a time of 64.16, and third went to another Britishb rider - Douglas Duffin - on Chiquito Z (Chellano Z x Libero H).
"I was hoping that I would hoold out for the whole class because there were a good few fast ones to go after me," Hughes said. "My mare is very fast. I didn't do the inside routes - I just decided to just keep nice and flowing, and I think it paid off."
Dutch showjumper Stefanie van den Brink, meanwhile, had a Bolesworth debut to savour when she landed the four-star opener - a two-phase 1.45 competition sponsored by Harthill Stud.
And Bolesworth's international appeal was highlighted by the fact that the first five riders represented five different countries - Holland, Egypt, Ireland, Britain and Belgium. Riding Merida 8 ( Metropole x Hildenley), van den Brink's time of 24.49 seconds proved just enough to edge out Egypt's Karim Elzoghby and Colour Girl (Cormint x Locato), with Irish challenger Dermott Lennon on Fleur IV (Chatman x Darco) third.
Reflecting on her win, van den Brink said: "I followed my own plan, and it worked out well. We didn't expect to win, but he went really well."
Source: Press release from Bolesworth International // Picture © Bolesworth International
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