Germany's Philipp Weishaupt was a very well-deserved winner of the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen today, but also a very surprising one. With the only 9-year-old LB Convall (Colman x Cascavelle), Philipp confirmed that the victory came as unexpected to him as to anyone else. “To give a 100% honest answer, I never expected to win the Grand Prix today,” Philipp smiled during the press conference.
About ten months ago, the Liebherr-family gave the ride on LB Convall to Ludger Beerbaum's stable rider Philipp Weishaupt. “He is an outstanding horse to me and I am really lucky to have the ride on him. When I just started riding him, we had some problems getting to know each other and also he is just a very big horse. At the beginning of this outdoor season he really started to do good. In Mannheim he jumped his first three-star Grand Prix clear, in Nörten-Hardenberg he was placed as well and in the German Championship he finished third with only one rail down,” Philipp commeted to the press. When asked why the Liebherrs gave Philipp the ride on LB Convall, he winked and said: “Because I am such a nice guy! And because Mr. Liebherr was born in the same village as I was.”
“Today everything went perfect for me. Normally it is not the best position to be first to go in the Grand Prix. The time was very short, but I had no one to compare to, so I tried to just leave the jumps up and not worry too much about the time,” Philipp explained. “I expected to finish on a time penalty, but I did not expect two time faults. When I was finished, I could just sit back and relax and see how the other riders would do. The time turned out to be very tight and everyone made faults trying to be inside the time allowed. It actually all end up good for me,” Philipp smiled.
For course designer Frank Rothenberger it must have been hard to see the riders struggle so much with the time. “In my 35 years of experience, I have never had this before. When Philipp went four seconds outside the time as first rider, we were a bit concerned but we could see another two riders. The second rider stayed inside the time allowed and the third was just outside the time allowed, so we decided to keep the time on 84 seconds,” Rothenberger said. Since Philipp Weishaupt finished on two time penalties, Rothenberger thought it would also not have been fair to change the time allowed: “Philipp would still have a time fault if we made the time allowed 86 seconds. And since he did not have the chance to see anyone else ride, it would not have been fair to change it so we left it at 84 seconds.”
For Philipp Weishaupt, his victory in the Grand Prix of Aachen is the beginning of a chance to gain a Rolex Grand Slam Bonus. Philipp could have an advantage at Spruce Meadows in September, since he actually rode LB Convall over there during the summer tour: “Spruce Meadows has been the best preparation for Aachen for LB Convall. In the first weeks of Spruce Meadows he felt a bit green and not so comfortable in the big grass arena. But after a few weeks he got better and better and he jumped his first five-star Grand Prix competitions in Calgary. When I rode him here in Aachen on Wednesday for the first time, he felt like he had been jumping on the grass all year.”
Weishaupt can only be enthusiastic about his 9-year-old horse. “If you see how the horse has developed in just a couple of months, it is unbelievable. If you compare him today to all these other horses with all the experience in the world, it just tells you how special he is!”
Runner-up Scott Brash on the other hand could count on his long time partner Ursula XII (Ahorn x Papageno) again. Ursula was not seen at this level for nearly two years, due to injury. “I am so delighted to have Ursula back on her top level again after nearly two years! Although she never jumped the Grand Prix here in Aachen, I felt like this ring would be very good for her. I am still disappointed about our four faults in the first round, but I am very happy with the way she jumped in the second round as well," last year's Grand Prix of Aachen winner Scott Brash said afterwards.
Text © World of Showjumping by Peter van der Waaij // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson
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