The 2016 edition of Knokke Hippique saw Daniel Deusser and Equita van't Zorgvliet (Cassini I x Darco) as winners of the CSI5* Grand Prix followed by Philippe Rozier and Steve Guerdat who had to see themselves beaten by the smallest margins.
49 riders had lined up to compete in the feature class of the even. After the first round 19 riders had qualified for the jump-off and were ready to fight to get to drive home in the Porsche Targa that was offered as the top prize.
The time could have paid an important role in the class, but as the time allowed was increased after the first three riders, the time pressure was off and the first half of the competition included 12 clear riders. At this point it looked like more than 19 riders would go through to the jump-off as there were plenty of very good riders to go. But when big names such as Lucy Davis, McLain Ward, Peder Fredricson and Henrik von Eckermann all had four faults and Gregory Wathelet and Sergio Alvarez Moya picked up 11 and 12 faults respectively, the second half only counted seven additional clears.
The shortened track consisted of seven fences and eight obstacles as the Rolex combination was included. The lines between the first three fences opened for some real cantering before it was a potentially quick turn back to fence number 5. Also the line from the combination and to the last fence - the Stephex oxer - opened for full speed.
The first riders to go, Greg Patrick Broderick, Cian O’Connor, Ben Maher and Lorenzo de Luca all went for efficient, but safe clear rounds which in the end placed them all within the top eight. Ben Maher entered the jump-off as start number three and held on to the lead towards the very end as some combinations chose to take it easy such as Nick Skelton and a very well jumping Big Star (Quick Star x Nimmerdor). Others gave it all, but had to see the rails fall including Romain Duguet and Quorida de Treho (Kannan x Tolbiac des Forets) who was the first to take Maher’s time, but on the expence of eight faults, and Jos Verlooy who had the last fence down in his chase for a top result with Caracas (Casall x Colman).
With three riders to go it looked good for Maher, but as Philippe Rozier and Rahotep du Toscane (Quidam de Revel x Laudanu) sat off in a high speed and also managed to make a tight turn to fence five they crossed the finish-line 0,61 seconds ahead of Maher.
Next to go was Daniel Deusser who was ready to give his boss and the organizer of the successful Knokke-event, Stephan Conter, value for money. With high speed through the entire round and a perfectly made turn to fence five, Deusser was able to push Rozier down to second place with a margin of 0,07 seconds.
The always dangerous combination when on form, Steve Guerdat and Nino des Buissonnets (Kannan x Narcos II), was last to go but today their result was (only) good enough for third place despite a fast round. The crowd could thus celebrate the closest they got to a home win with Deusser and Equita van't Zorgvliet as the happy winners.
Text and picture © World of Showjumping
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