Matthew Sampson is no stranger to the victory gallop—especially at Spruce Meadows.

This season, the British rider has already secured two CSI5* victories in the Summer Series, both of them aboard the 11-year-old U.K.-bred mare, One Whisper.

But words were not enough on Sunday, June 30, when a tearful Sampson earned a major win in the 1.60m Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, on the veteran 16-year-old Daniel.

“I feel like it meant so much for Daniel to win,” said Sampson, 34. “He deserves it.”

Things have come together quickly for the rider from Sheffield, U.K. and the KWPN stallion, who has been on Sampson’s string for less than a year. On Sunday, the pair was one of only eight combinations on the startlist to jump clear on French Designer Greg Bodo’s 17-effort track, and one of only two double-clears of the day. (Bodo—whose courses Sampson describes as “never easy”—will be a co-designer in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.)

On the shortened course, Sampson and Daniel’s time of 40.22 seconds was good enough to best not only Paris-bound Canadian Olympians Amy Millar and Mario Deslauriers (who finished seventh and eighth, respectively), but the USA’s Elena Haas. Haas and the 12-year-old Westphalian gelding, Claude, finished in second place on 42.53 seconds; Kyle King, also of the USA, rounded out the podium with Odysseus.

The Pan American Cup is Sampson’s first CSI5* Grand Prix win with Daniel, who officially joined his string in December. Despite this, the experienced Daniel has had many competitive seasons under several different international riders—most recently Sweden’s Angelie Von Essen—earning nearly $177,000 in prize money.

And, even at this late stage of his career, he’s logging impressive stats under Sampson.

The pair jumps clear at 50% at 1.55m and at 71% at 1.50m. In just 10 rounds together at 1.60, they average 2.3 faults, finishing in the top-10 71% of the time, according to Jumpr.

“I feel like, when we don’t win, it’s always my fault,” said Sampson, who hurried to share the good news of his victory by phone with his mom, Ruth, and his girlfriend—fellow grand prix rider Kara Chad of Canada.

“To win today feels amazing,” the British rider continued.  “It’s a dream come true.”