Sergio Alvarez Moya and Puma HS chase victory in CSIO3* Grand Prix of Luxembourg

Sergio Alvarez Moya and Puma HS chase victory in CSIO3* Grand Prix of Luxembourg

In an exhilarating display of equestrian excellence, Sergio Alvarez Moya clinched victory at the CSI3* 1.55m Grand Prix de Luxembourg. Riding Puma HS (Untouchable), Moya delivered a flawless performance, outpacing competitors and highlighting the rigorous training and deep trust between horse and rider.

It was not until the eighteenth rider entered the course designed by Peter Schumacher that the first clear round was recorded. This feat was achieved by Pello Elorduy Ibarzabal (ESP) aboard Champenoise de Rampan (Voltigeur de Rampan). French rider Nicolas Houzelle on Disco du Chatellier (Tsunami de Hus) ensured a jump-off for the Luxembourg audience. Sergio Alvarez Moya, the Chef d’Equipe of the Spanish Nations Cup team, joined the jump-off before the break with Puma HS (Untouchable). In the second half, nine others secured a spot in the final round, representing Spain, the United States, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal, France, Malaysia, and two riders from the host country.

Ibarzabal started strong in the jump-off, delivering a faultless ride with a sharp time of 42.74 seconds. Fellow Spaniard Moya, third to go, steered his Puma HS to a clear finish in 40.13 seconds. No other combinations managed to beat the times set by the two Spaniards, who claimed the top two spots.

Third place went to Michael Hughes (USA) and the stallion Legolas Ter Wilgen, a son of Emmerton. They were just two-hundredths of a second behind Ibarzabal. The top five were rounded out by impressive female riders. Eva Gautschi (SUI) flawlessly guided the 11-year-old Christiane K (Christian) to fourth place. Jenny Rankin (IRL) followed in fifth with Ibiza (Inshallah de Muze). The sixth and final clear round came from Rodrigo Sampaio Peixoto (POR) with Orion As, a son of Baloubet du Rouet.

Local rider Victor Bettendorf, cheered on by his home crowd, rode Foxy de La Roque (Armitages Boy) a full second faster than the winning time, but a rail down placed them seventh. His older sister Charlotte Bettendorf met a similar fate on Tirelire T&L Z (Toulon), finishing eighth.

During the first round, despite a period away from competitions due to training, Puma HS proved to be in top form. Moya was particularly pleased with his horse's jumping, although he noted that Puma HS tired towards the end. "He hasn’t built up much condition for the competitions yet, but I’m very happy. I have a lot of faith in this horse," Moya said.

The course in Roeser presented challenges for all participants, but Moya's trust in his horse was justified. "Puma HS is a horse with a lot of power and caution. As long as I ride well, he usually stays clear," he explained. However, the allowed time was a crucial factor. "Puma is not naturally the fastest horse, and I tried to compensate for that at the beginning. I wanted to gain time on the first jumps so I could take my time at the triple combination, which was downhill."

In the jump-off, Moya was third to go and knew he had to capitalize on Puma HS's large stride, given his horse's lack of experience with sharp turns in jump-offs. "I took every forward stride I could see, and it worked out. The faster combinations all had at least one rail down. We were lucky enough to win!"

This victory held special significance for Moya, not only for himself but also for the owners of Puma HS. Moya expressed his gratitude for their support. "I am very happy, especially for the owners who help me and believe in us. My horse, but certainly also his owners, really deserved this win."

Puma HS, acquired about a year ago with the aim of competing at the top level, has made significant progress since. "In the beginning, we struggled with control. We jumped a few courses together, but he wasn’t ready yet, even though he always tried. This year, everything is getting easier; he is easier to ride. We are far from where we want to be, but we will keep working!"

Overall, Moya enjoyed his week in Luxembourg with Puma HS and two younger horses. "I had a nice week here with him and two younger horses. They all jumped well, so I can’t complain."

Moya's future plans are ambitious, with competitions in Deauville in two weeks and hopefully the Olympics on the horizon. With this victory in Roeser, Moya looks forward to the upcoming challenges with confidence. "I go to Deauville in two weeks and hopefully to the Olympics!"

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