After winning the Grand Prix of Ciekocinko earlier this year and the Grand Prix of Linz last year, Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and Johnny Boy added another Grand Prix victory to their impressive record on Saturday night at Knokke Hippique. With only five clear rounds in the CSI3* 1.55m Sovaro Grand Prix, it was a tough competition in Knokke.
Santiago Lambre and Johnny Boy (Johnny Boy II x Silvio I) were the first pair to deliver a clear over the technical course in which the rails fell down all over the round. Shortly after Lambre’s great clear round, Germany’s speed specialist Marc Bettinger followed with a clear round as well aboard the 13-year-old Balouzino (Baloubet du Rouet x Zeus). Denmark’s talented young rider Emil Hallundbaek and his new mount Allstar (Oklund x Peter Pan) finished on a clean sheet as well shortly afterwards and Slovakia’s Bronislav Chudyba left all the rails up too with Extasy III (El Bonito x Rhytmo).
But as the evening got darker, the results did not get better. Although the atmosphere and the lights at Knokke Hippique are amazing, Germany’s Christopher Klasener was the only one to deliver a clear round in the second part of the Grand Prix. Aboard Ger Poels’ Zippit (Berlin x Zeus) the young German cleared the tough course.
Being the first starter in the jump-off, Santiago Lambre had to try something with Johnny Boy – perhaps not the fastest horse on the circuit. “I knew the riders after me would be able to go faster, so I decided to go for a fast, but not crazy jump-off,” Santiago says afterwards. And the strategy of the experienced Mexican rider worked out fine, as both Marc Bettinger and Bronislav Chudyba beat his time, but got rails during their round. Only Christopher Klasener kept a clean sheet in the jump-off as well, but finished 0.85 seconds slower than Santiago Lambre.
“Today, it is always great to win a Grand Prix anywhere since it is so difficult these days. Winning at this wonderful show in Knokke is fantastic and I hope to be back next year as well!”, Santiago Lambre says about his win during the first week of the Knokke Hippique Summer Circuit.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson
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