24 JULY 2007

When Athina Onassis de Miranda married in December 2005 eyebrows were raised at the wisdom of the world's most high-profile billionairess settling down so young. Eighteen months on, the shipping heiress' union with Brazilian showjumper Alvaro de Miranda Neto seems to have defied sceptics, appearing stronger with every public appearance.

Continuing their tour of world class equestrian events, Athina and her athletic other half turned out at Portugal's Manuel Possolo Hippodrome. Before the competition husband and wife talked tactics to help Doda, as he is also known, prepare for the challenge.

Athina, herself a competent horsewoman, later filmed her man as he put his horse through its paces in the ring. Next week the young couple - who have made a point of living a quiet life since tying the knot - will find themselves very much in the spotlight when the most talented performers on the showjumping circuit compete in South America.

Aristotle Onassis' granddaughter can expect the media to descend Doda's backyard, Sao Paolo, where she has organised the Athina Onassis International Horse Show. As private as she is, the wealthy young woman would only have put her name to the event knowing it would further her and Doda's commitment to their chosen sport.

Photo: ©
Doda consults with his supportive wife Athina as he prepares to compete in PortugalPhoto: © Rex
Photo: ©
The couple will be in the spotlight next week when riders from all over the world descend on Sao Paulo for the Athina Onassis International Horse ShowPhoto: © Rex