Holly Smith’s way with Windsor has all the signatures of a show jumping fairy tale, creating sporting moments that have defined her career.
In 2019, Smith and then 10-year-old AES gelding Hearts Destiny won the CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show and were personally awarded the King’s Cup trophy by the Queen.
Hearts Destiny was Smith’s top horse at the time, representing England at the World Equestrian Games Tryon in 2018, jumping to team bronze at the European Championships in Rotterdam in 2019, jumping clean at the CSIO5* Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, and collecting top 4* and 5* results along the way.
Sadly, the story for Hearts Destiny was cut a few pages short. In 2021 at 11-years-old he lost his battle with a metabolic disease.
“If only love and hope could have saved you,” Smith memorialized on Facebook.
But love and hope transcend time. On Sunday, riding the 12-year-old KWPN gelding Fruselli, the British show jumper secured the home win in the CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup for the second time. The pair were one of only three clear rounds of the day, crossing the timers in 32.17 seconds to reprise her Windsor fairytale.
“I am elated with Fruselli today. He was incredible and I am so pleased for his owners Sue and Gordon Hall. I won this class in 2019, on the Hall’s Hearts Destiny, who sadly passed away two years ago, so to win here today on this horse feels extra special,” said Smith.
Smith and Fruselli have a history of success at Royal Windsor, winning a 5* 1.45m class in 2019, and two 5* classes in 2021. The pair also won the CSIO5*-NC Final Negrita Cup in 2021, and the CSI5*-W Prix Groupama in Lyon the same year.
Campaigned exclusively by Smith throughout his FEI career, Fruselli sports an impressive 67% top ten placing and a 75% four-faults or less rate at 1.60m, according to JumprApp. In 2022 alone, the pair has finished top two in seven of their ten international performances leading up to Royal Windsor, winning four.
“The course rode really well, so I was surprised there were so few clears. In the jump-off, I took risks and really went for it, as the worst I could be was third, but those risks paid off. I love it here and the crowd has been amazing. It is such an honor to win on home soil,” said Smith.
Following Smith was Abdel Saïd (BEL) and Casalor, clocking in at 33.31 seconds, ahead of Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Cash du Plessis by a three tenths of a second (33.63s).