It was a busy, warm and successful day at Tops International Arena with a great winner in the 2-star Grand Prix as grand finale.
And what a thrilling jump-off for the Grand Prix it was! Sixteen riders stayed clear in the first round and came back for the battle for first prize. First rider to be clear was Egypt’s Abdel Said with Jackson de Regor in 40.62 seconds followed by Darragh Kenny for Ireland in 39.91. Then it was Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli’s turn with Celena VDL. They set a time of 37.96 seconds. Many tried but no-one could better that time. Zanotelli: “She is really fast en eager. I am very happy with this horse.” He rides the 10-year-old KWPN mare (Mr. Blue x Chin Chin) for it’s owner VDL Stud who also uses her as a broodmare. Marlon had a great time in Valkenswaard, “I like riding here, everything is so well organized and the facilities are just perfect.”
Just 0.12 seconds slower was Holland’s Maikel van der Vleuten with Dana Blue (KWPN, Mr. Blue x Hemmingway) to finish runner-up. Third place also went to Brazil: Pedro Veniss and the SF stallion Tresor de Varende (Esprit de Conquete x Apple de River).
Italys Piergiorgio Bucci won the 2* Medium Tour class with the 10-year-old BWP gelding Heartbreaker v. Achterhoe (Bentley van de Heffinck x Catango Z). The 41-year-old rider was very satisfied: “I ride this horse for a few years now and I know he is fast. I was so lucky to be one of the last to go, so I knew where I could save seconds and where to be careful.”Last year Bucci, who lives in Budel, the Netherlands, won the Grand Prix during the first event in Valkenswaard.
Runner-up was Belgium’s Jos Verlooy, who was in good form these two weeks in Valkenswaard. He rode Japatero VDM ((BWP, Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure). Third place went to Holland’s Maikel van der Vleuten and the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare Cuarta (Canto 16 x Coriano).
The Small Tour (1.35m) resulted in a victory for Holland’s Siebe Kramer and Donnafugata (KWPN, Ginus x Cantos). Siebe, who rides for Black Horses, had the fastest round in 62.65 seconds. Second place went to Sweden’s Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli and the nine-year-old Holsteiner mare Contella in 63.75. Britain’s Anna Wilks finished in third place with the 10-year-old gelding Cooper (Viento Uno W x Voltaire). They stopped the clock at 64.26.
The ‘small’ Grand Prix (1.35/1.40m) had a thrilling jump-off. Out of the 26 starters eight qualified for the jump-off. At the end it was Oliver Lazarus, who rides for South-Africa, who won with Bagheera Blue (Oldbg, Chacco Blue x Carnute). They were last to go in the jump-off and that is an advantage: “Bagheera Blue is very fast and I saw Alex Barr’s round. He had seven strides between the fences one and two and I did the same. When Bagheera Blue was clear on the double I knew it was good.” The 29-year-old rider moved to Great Britain at the age of 12 and when he finished school at 17 he moved to Germany where he trained with Ludger Beerbaum. Now he lives in Belgium, in Roeselare, where he runs Team Equest Stables with partner Georgia Harvey.
Runners-up were Britain’s Alex Barr and Queen Bee JX (SHBGB, Quicksilber x Couleur Rubin). Belgium’s Ann-Sophie de Reviere in third place with Jade van het Groene Dak (BWP, Nabab de Reve x Darco).
Holland’s Lauren van Berkel won the Medium Tour with the 14-year-old SF mare Prele du Chanois (Fango in Blue x Tenor de Conde) after a jump-off with 12 riders. She stopped the clock at 43.60 seconds. She beat Britain’s Alex Barr to the runner-up spot with the 11-year-old mare Bettilina (KWPN, Kojak x Manhattan). Their round clocked 44.86 seconds.Hannah Mytilineou from Greece and her 13-year-old Companion (OS, Colander x Picard) finished in third place in 47.56.
Today’s Small Tour competition was won by Swedish rider Sara Forslin and the 13-year-old Holsteiner stallion Cabrero (Contender x Carvallo). Valkenswaard was their first international competition so the 30-year-old rider, who live in Bree, Belgium, was very happy with the result: “It is super to win here. I ride him for three months now. He was a birthday present from my parents.”
Runner-up was Belgium’s Ludivine Mandron with Kicero (BWP) followed by Sanne Udink and Freak Out (KWPN, Chello III VDL x Burggraaf) for the Netherlands.
The season at Tops International Arena will continue in July with event III, the Global Future Champions from 17-19 July and event IV, the Global Future Champions CSIU25, CSIYR, CSIJ, CSICh, CSIP from 21-23 July.