Spanish rider Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot concluded the 2016 Spring MET with a very popular home win in the CSI3* Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort Grand Prix. The 1.50 competition counted towards the Longines Ranking, and closed off the fourth and final tour of this year’s edition of the Spring MET.
Five riders out of the 39 in the competition managed to produce clear rounds over the thirteen fence track that caused trouble for many combinations. The track designed by Javier Trenor included a triple combination early on set at fence four, an open water at jump eight followed by a related distance to a combination and then a skinny white upright as fence eleven before a black plank waited at fence thirteen another jump later. The ingredients proved to be challenging for many, and in the end no less than eleven riders chose to retire.
“The course was quite tough, with some big and wide oxers. Also the triple combination was a bit tricky as you came in on a bit of an angle. But, it was nicely build and fair for the horses,” explained Alvarez Aznar about the first round track.
With three of the clear rounds coming from Spanish riders, the home crowds were guaranteed something to celebrate following the jump-off - but would they be able to take the win against their British and French challengers?
The jump-off was all about galloping, and after the fourth jump - the former a- and b-element of the triple combination - it was open for going flat out as three long stretches waited. Still, with the white upright at fence eleven as the penultimate fence and then the plank as the last challenge – caution and attention was required.
Spain’s Gonzalo Anon Suarez opened up, and put the pressure on with another clear round aboard Qlamp d’Ivraie to stop the clock at 47.11 seconds. The time looked possible to beat though, as Anon Suarez did not take the very last risk around the shortened track. Neither did Primitivo Nieves, also representing Spain, but still he had to see the final fence fall to the ground and finally settled for fifth place on Galiant VDS.
Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot were next in, and put on more speed on the stretches using the ground-covering canter of his stallion to his advantage. Crossing the finish line, Alvarez Aznar took over the lead with a time of 45.78 seconds aboard the 11-year-old son of L’Arc de Triomphe.
French contender Guillaume Foutrier put in a good attempt on the impressive Brentano d’Amaury, and although clear he could not match Eduardo or Gonzalo’s times slotting into temporary third. He would soon be relegated by last-to-go, the only girl in the jump-off: Anna Edwards from Great Britain. Urging on the 10-year-old stallion Blazer B, that has a massive jump, Edwards really went for it – but in the end she was still a second behind Alvarez Aznar who could celebrate a win on home soil.
“My horse is not one of the quickest, so I tried to get some sharp turns and kept him in the same rhythm throughout the course. Perhaps I was a bit faster to the penultimate vertical,” detailed the winner.
Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot is Eduardo Alvarez Aznar’s Olympic candidate, and was given a break after the World Cup season only to slowly return to competition the last two months with Oliva Nova being the stage of his return in the big classes. “Now I will focus on keeping him in shape throughout the summer and towards Rio,” Alvarez Aznar said. “I will jump the Longines Global Champions Tour in Madrid, then the Nations Cup show in Lisbon and then I have a spot as an individual in Rotterdam. After that we will see, but it will be all about keeping Rokfeller in good shape and happy.”
Together, Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot and Eduardo Alvarez Aznar have already done two championships for Spain: The 2015 European Championships and the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Now, they are aiming for their third. “I definitely hope for a spot on the team for Rio,” said Eduardo.
This was the Spanish rider’s fourth time in Oliva, and he hopes to come back for the 2016 Autumn MET. “There are always improvements being done here, it gets better and better for every time I return. It’s great to have such a place and such organizers here in Spain.”
Show director Bettina Pöhls was also happy with her first edition as chief-in-charge of the Spring MET. “The inaugural fourth part of the tour - the MET IV – was a great success and it was a super finish here today with a Spanish victory under amazing weather conditions.”
“We are very pleased with the great group of riders we have had here during the 2016 Spring MET, and look forward to welcome everybody back in October for the Autumn MET.”
Source: Press release from 2016 Spring MET // Picture © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com
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