The top three in Tuesday's first competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games met up with the media following a great day of sport, and here is what Bertram Allen, Patrice Delaveau and Gregory Wathelet had to say at the press conference and when speaking with World of Showjumping.
Bertram Allen (winner):
On his win: "It is unbelievable and a bit unexpected. The plan was to have a good and fast round, so to end up winning the class was a great bonus. My mare is naturally fast and careful, I took some tight turns – but not too much risk and thankfully it paid off today."
On his winning mare Molly Malone V: "She has really stepped up this year, but also last year she developed and improved a lot. This year she went up to jump the big Grand Prix classes, she was placed in the Rolex Grand Prix in Den Bosch and then she went on to win her first big Grand Prix classes. Molly has been so consistent, and is getting it in her stride now and finding her place on this level."
On his relationship with Molly Malone V: "She means a lot for me, and we have great connection – we have known each other for quite a while now. Molly is a very sensitive horse, and I like horses like that. We understand each other and have a great partnership. Molly wants to leave the fences up, she goes one way and that's forward so if you keep her steady she knows her game and what to do. She has a great mind!
On his nerves: "I get a little bit nervous, but I just try to ignore it! I just try to get on with it and ride."
Patrice Delaveau (runner-up):
On the French success today; "It started good today, but now we need to remain consistent to the end and keep our focus. But mentally it is very good with such a good start!"
Gregory Wathelet (third placed):
On his round: "I had a plan in my head and I stuck to it, although my horse went faster than I expected."
On his horse Conrad de Hus that stepped up when Sea Coast Forlap DC was sold: "First, I must say it was always my plan to ride Conrad here. He was maybe a little bit in Forlap's shadow – but I knew that it would be difficult to keep Forlap so I prepared myself and Conrad for the WEG, it was already in my mind that this could happen. That was also why he was ready to go when Forlap left. What I was not sure about was how he would be in his mind; I knew he had a good one – but to go straight into the Nations Cup in Aachen and today here that takes something special. Nothing feels difficult with him, and he has all the scope and is very careful."
On his hopes: "My expectations here are with the team, and we hope for qualification for the Olympics. If we make that I will be happy with my championship here."
On the World Equestrian Games selection that had a certain aftermath in Belgium, and whether it affected the team; "It was more talk around us about this than between us, so it did not really disturb anything for the riders on the team. For sure it was not nice that it developed the way it did, and I do not really understand why they went so far with this. I can understand that they are disappointed, I can understand that they want to be on the team – but I think a decision from the Chef d'Equipe needs to be accepted. It was the same for Jos Verlooy; he was the fifth rider and disappointed about that – but respected it. Constant is still young, and has the future ahead of him – and can keep on working, prove himself and get the chance. We kept a good atmosphere in the team despite of all the noise around though, so it has not disturbed us. It affected a lot of things, but not us as a team."
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