Andre Thieme walked into the stadium for the Saugerties $1 Million Grand Prix with a reputation. With two previous million dollar grand prix victories, he’s been dubbed the “Million Dollar Man.” And he continued to live up to that name by capturing the lucky third victory at HITS Saugerties this year on Conthendrix.
In a field of 41 contenders, Thieme and the 13-year-old Holsteiner (Contendro I—Hit-Liste, Cor De La Bryere) were the only pair to keep all the rails up in Martin Otto’s FEI CSI***** course. But the height was just what Thieme hoped for.
“The last two millions I did, there were a lot of clean rounds in the jump-off and I had to run and run,” said the German rider. “I couldn’t win. So I was hoping that it was going to be big. And then we walked the course and I saw that everybody agreed—it’s big. I was hoping he was going to lower a few jumps actually—it was that big.”
But Otto’s masterpiece didn’t just require scope—it required speed and attention to detail. In the first half of the class, the best performances were brought by eight-faulters. And even Thieme picked up 1 fault on the clock. But being able to watch the first half of the class navigate their route helped Thieme, second place Sharn Wordley on Barnetta and third place Daniel Bluman on Ladriano Z. Wordley and Bluman were two of three four-fault efforts.
And for the Million Dollar Man, these sorts of classes bring him over from Germany to compete.
“I take those classes really seriously because I know what a possibility and what a chance that class is,” said Thieme. “That class has changed my life.”