Brazil’s Alvaro de Miranda made it a win in the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Valkenswaard Saturday afternoon. As last to go in the jump-off, Doda went to work on AD Rahmannshof’s Bogeno (Baloubet du Rouet x Elanville) – securing the victory after a clear and very efficient round. Four other riders joined him against the clock, but the only one of them to go clear was Simon Delestre who ended second on Qlassic Bois Margot (Arc de Triomphe x Galoubet). Number three, Gerco Schröder on London (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin), was the fastest of the riders with a pole down in the third round of the class.
After the first round eighteen riders were clear to move on to round two. And it was great sport that the Dutch crowds got to see. It was a big turnout of spectators in Valkenswaard and every seat was filled as they got to see four home riders qualifying for the second round; Maikel van der Vleuten, Harrie Smolders, Gert Jan Bruggink and Gerco Schröder.
It was no easy task that waited the riders in the second round. Only five riders made it without faults as they crossed the finish line after dealing with Uliano Vezzani’s twelve fence track – that included the bicycle gate at four, a triple combination at 7abc and then a combination at 10 a&b.
Simon Delestre was the first to clear the second round on Haras du Bois Margot ‘s 9 year old stallion. When Maikel van der Vleuten had one down towards the end on VDL Groep Sapphire (Mr. Blue x Grand Veneur ) the crowds were disappointed, but that was quickly forgotten when Harrie Smolders did a beautiful clear round on Axel Verlooy’s amazing stallion Emerald (Diamant De Semilly x Carthago). All the following riders had fences down – including “home rider” Edwina Tops-Alexander. It was not until reining Dutch champion Gert Jan Bruggink on Primeval Dejavu (Heartbreaker x Ramiro) entered the arena that the next clear came, much to the appreciation of the crowds. A great evening for the home riders was concluded by Gerco Schröder and London, before Doda posted the final and last clear.
Simon opened the jump-off, and went for a clear round at 44.48 seconds. It was definitely possible to beat, but going out of the ring without faults he put pressure on the remaining four. And they all must have felt it – Harrie Smolders had the last down after a super round, while Gert Jan took two. Gerco had to see the a-element of the combination fall down on the grass in his attempt to catch the lead, but still had the fastest time. As last to go Doda showed his competitors no mercy as he left the brakes by the entrance, producing a round with great and short turns and putting Bogeno in top gear on the final stretch – shaving off exactly four seconds on Simon’s time to take home the win.
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