Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts and Pieter Devos were in a league of their own in Saturday’s biggest class in Den Bosch, and secured the two top places. The 1.55 class had 37 riders in it, but nobody could do anything about the two Belgian guys who both rode outstanding rounds in the jump-off that counted fifteen riders – whereas five of them represented the host country.
Olivier came in as the fourth rider in the jump-off on the stunning H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf), that had jumped an astonishing first round over the twelve fence track. Getting perfect roll-back turns everywhere around the shortened track, Olivier came flying in to the penultimate oxer and then going on seven forward strides to the final oxer to set the new time to beat on an impressive 35.10. It looked like it would be impossible to beat, and so it was.
Three riders later it was Pieter’s turn, and he was in for a fight for the top prize. Dream of India Greenfield (Gem of India x Night and Day) was put in top gear from the beginning, and choosing the same strides on the last line Devos stopped the clock dangerously close to his compatriot only 0.20 seconds behind.
None of those to come could catch the two. Closets came Brazil’s Marlon Zanotelli – who like the top two riders is based in Belgium – riding Zerlin M (Berlin x Concorde). The pair that won yesterday’s 1.50 class produced yet another great clear round to slot into third place ahead of Scott Brash and Ludger Beerbaum.
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