Nine years after his first victory in the Grand Prix of Jumping Amsterdam on Parmala Douche, Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten again let the RAI Amsterdam explode after a thrilling jump-off. Aboard the exceptional mare VDL Groep Arera C (Indoctro x Voltaire), Maikel shaved off 1.32 seconds on Doron Kuipers’ and Zinius’ time of 38.76 seconds – a round that initially seemed to be unbeatable.
No less than sixteen combinations qualified over the beautifully built track of the CSI4* Anemone Horse Trucks Grand Prix of Amsterdam. As first to go, Dutch rider Leon Thijssen and his only 9-year-old Captain Cooper (Namelus R x Corland) started off with a clear round. Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV (Colman x Corleone) immediately followed Thijssen into the jump-off. Only minutes later both Johnny Pals aboard his wonderful Fernando (For Pleasure x Corrado I) and Jeroen Dubbeldam riding his new star Carusso LS La Silla (Montebello la Silla x Joost) qualified for the jump-off too.
The Dutch riders dominated on home soil with no less than ten Dutch combinations in the jump-off and an all Dutch podium. A beautifully ridden round from Stefanie van den Brink and Ace (Berlin x Irco Polo), an exceptional ride from last year’s Grand Prix winners Willem Greve and Carambole N.O.P. (Cassini I x Concerto II) and a clear round of Doron Kuipers and his loyal fighter Zinius (Nabab de Rêve x Kannan) released an enormous applause from the excited audience. When Michael Greeve, Maikel van der Vleuten, Marc Houtzager, Albert Zoer and Leopold van Asten also delivered clears, the Dutch audience could not sit on their seats any longer.
As third to go in the jump-off, Johnny Pals and the only 9-year-old Fernando gave it a good shot, finishing on 40.57 seconds. The time was soon beaten by Olympic, European and World Champion Jeroen Dubbeldam aboard his new ride Carusso LS La Silla – formerly ridden by Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Alberto Michan. Dubbeldam’s time of 39.25 seconds turned out to be not that easy to match. Even last year’s Grand Prix winner Willem Greve and Carmabole N.O.P. – both extremely motivated – had to settle for an eventually fifth position in 40.49 seconds. Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) were the first ones who looked to beat Dubbeldam’s time, but by adding two strides towards the last fence, they lost it by only 0.01 of a second.
Dutch rider Doron Kuipers is known as one of the Netherlands’ most competitive and lived up to his reputation aboard Zinius. The 12-year-old gelding gave all he had and they finished on 38.76 seconds – only leaving the door open when doing seven instead of six strides to the last fence. “Zinius is a real fighter! He wants do to his best and he is always winning a lot of classes. If you are in the jump-off, you know you can be very quick. He is super-fast and always wants to jump clear,” Kuipers said afterwards.
While Kuipers’ time seemed unbeatable, Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Arera C destroyed his time by 1.32 seconds. “My father Eric was watching the jump-off and said I really had to go for it,” Maikel stated after his win. “I must say, I never got a backward distance, everything went very smooth and then my mare is really quick.” Some excellent turns and a wonderfully ridden six strides towards the last fence, delivered Maikel van der Vleuten his second victory in the Grand Prix of Amsterdam. “This show is every day fully packed and the atmosphere is fantastic! They really deserve that the best riders are here,” Maikel van der Vleuten said enthusiastic about the wonderful crowd in Amsterdam.
Ending in third place, Jeroen Dubbeldam and Carusso LS La Silla had an excellent Grand Prix debut. “I am very pleased with the new horses I got from Mr. Romo. I have known Carusso since he was four years old and back then, I rode him once. Both Carusso as Camillo LS La Silla have got the experienced and are well educated, so they can be competitive straightaway!” As sports advisor of Jumping Amsterdam, Jeroen Dubbeldam is also involved in the organization of the show. “Since the show is excellent organized, my job as advisor gets easier every year. This year, it has again been top sport, top facilities and an exceptional atmosphere!”
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij// Photo © Leanjo de Koster/www.digishots.nl
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