Scott Brash announced the retirement of Hello Sanctos, who has only jumped thirty courses in four years. Olympic team champion in 2012 in London and European team champion in 2013 in Herning, where he also won individual bronze, he won the Grand Slam straddling 2014 and 2015. Before his farewell, on December 14 in Geneva, he returned to his fantastic career.
Sanctos van het Gravenhof was born on 13 May 2002 in Lembeke, halfway between Bruges and Antwerp in East Flanders. His breeder, Willy Taets, sold him at two and a half years old to Dany van Lombergen, another Flemish breeder, who entrusted his training to his partner Kim van Laenen. In the middle of a good first season at four years old, Sanctos was sold to Jean-Luc de Maeyer, another Flemish breeder and investor. His training continues with Jo de Witte, semi-professional rider who rides him for one year. In the winter of 2008, the bay was moved to the stables of Koen Vereecke, based in Waarschoot, not far from Ghent, also in Belgium. The couple had a great season, winning two events at the CSI Jeunes Chevaux in Bourg-en-Bresse.
Despite Vereecke’s very good work, Jean-Luc de Maeyer took him away to settle him for a while in the Netherlands, with Jeroen Dubbeldam, Olympic champion in 2000 in Sydney, world champion in 2014 in Caen and European champion in 2015 in Aachen, where he was ridden by the young Willem Greve. Back in Belgium in the spring of 2009, the seven-year-old gelding moved back to Jos Kumps, one of Europe’s greatest masters of horseback riding. In competition, he was ridden by his then 16-year-old son Alexander on the international Junior circuit.
A few months later, he was sold to Peter Wylde, team bronze medalist at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera in 2002 and team gold medallist at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. The couple had a very good 2010 season and even won their last Grand Prix at the CSI 2* in Oldenburg on November 11. Officially not always for sale, he still ends up leaving the American for an “exorbitant” amount. Its new owner is none other than Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a sulphurous Ukrainian oligarch. Even though Katharina Offel finished fourth in several races at the CSIO 5* Grand Prix in Barcelona in September 2011, the German, who had then endorsed Ukrainian nationality, did not achieve the expected success with the gelding. It is then put at rest and for sale.
The British David Broome, a huge champion in the 1970s and 80s, advised ladies Pauline Harris and Pauline Kirkham to have Scott Brash, a young rider who was still relatively anonymous and whom they wanted to see compete in the London Olympics, try it out seven months later. The rider is seduced, without being sure that the horse is powerful enough for such a challenge, and makes him buy from his patrons. The new couple starts in the United States, with a World Cup victory already, but also much more difficult courses. Back in Europe, he offered Great Britain a double clear round in the CSIO 5* Nations Cup in Rome, and conceded only one fault in the Grand Prix, then validated his Olympic selection on the merit of a CSIO 5* that was just as successful in Rotterdam.
In London, Scott Brash and Sanctos offer a sublime gold medal to their enthusiastic audience, alongside Nick Skelton, Peter Charles and Ben Maher. Without seeming moved by the enormous stakes, the couple missed the individual podium for a foul in the second round of the final, like Skelton and Big Star, the big favourites. In 2013, he won two medals at the European Championships in Herning: team gold and individual bronze. Double winner of the Longines Global Champions Tour in 2013 and 2014, Brash, then world number one, missed almost nothing for two years, with the notable exception of the WEG in Normandy, where he suffered from food poisoning. At the end of 2014, he scored an unprecedented double at the CHI in Geneva, winning successively the Top Ten Final and the Grand Prix.
In May 2015, the pair won the Grand Prix of the CSI 5* in Aachen. From then on, Brash focused fully on the Grand Slam, bringing together the Grand Prix of the CSI 5* in Geneva, Aix and Calgary, with the aim of winning the one million euros promised to the winner. While the British team had to fight to obtain its Olympic qualification, which it would obtain in pain, it even decided to snub the European championships. On September 13, 2015 in Calgary, he won his bet by winning what many riders consider to be the ultimate challenge of show jumping. To date, he remains the only one to have succeeded in this challenge, which now includes a fourth stage with the CSI 5* Grand Prix in Bois-le-Duc. And he accomplished this performance at the helm of one and the same
In 2016, there will be no Rio Olympic Games for the gelding, which was stopped in February due to an injury. And after four attempts to return in the last three years, the rider and owners have decided to offer him a well-deserved retirement. A tribute will be paid to him at the CHI in Geneva on December 14.
2010: Winner of the CSI 2* Grand Prix Oldenburg and second in the CSI 2* Grand Prix Rogge with Peter Wylde.
2012: Team gold medalist at the London Olympic Games; winner of a World Cup Grand Prix in Wellington with Scott Brash.
2013: Team gold and individual bronze medalist at the European Championships in Herning; winner of the Grand Prix World Cup in Oslo, the Grand Prix CSI 5* in Doha and the Nations Cup in Dublin, second at the Grand Prix in Estoril and Geneva, third at the Grand Prix in Chantilly and the Coupe des nations in La Baule with Scott Brash.
2014: Winner of the Top Ten and CSI 5* Grand Prix finals in Wellington, Estoril, London, Cannes and Geneva, second at the Dublin Nations Cup, third at the Hamburg Grand Prix with Scott Brash.
2015: Winner of the CSIO 5* Grand Prix in Calgary and the CSI 5* Grand Prix in Aachen, Cascais and Miami, third in the CSI 5* Grand Prix in Basel and Bois-le-Duc with Scott Brash.