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After a plane-ride from Germany, upwards of $20,000 in travel expenses and a long week of nerves it was Andre Thieme who cashed the coveted $350,000 winner’s check in Sunday’s Pfizer $ 1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York. During the qualifying season in Ocala, Florida, Thieme and his own Aragon Rouet earned over $36,000 in prize money and boasted a historic win in Sunday’s class over American riders like McLain Ward, Todd Minikus and Margie Engle.
Thieme and Aragon Rouet proved that they deserve to be considered one of the best as they were one of the only two to advance to the jump-off and the only pair to go double clear. “I wouldn’t have made the trip and spent the money to get here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Thieme. “I didn’t think I was going to win, but I was hoping for a top-five finish.”
He and his horse arrived in Saugerties a week ago and the wait didn’t relieve any of the pressure, according to Thieme. “The course was big,” said Thieme.“I got on [Aragon Rouet] when we were 20 horses away and just walked to relax and prepare.”
The first to go clear and the only competition for Thieme in the jump-off was Duncan McFarlane of New Zealand. The crowd waited twenty trips for a clear round and it was McFarlane who finally delivered on Mr. Whoopy. He was first in the jump-off, but saw trouble at the repeat of 12a and took down the front rail of the 8th jump-off fence to finish with eight faults. "I excited to go clear, but I knew I wasn't going to be the only one," said McFarlane. "The course could be ridden and there were a lot of great riders behind me."
Top Five in the Pfizer $ 1 Million Grand Prix:
1. Andre Thieme/ Aragon Rouet (GER) 0/0
2. Duncan McFarlane/Mr Whoopy (NZ) 0/8
3. McLain Ward/Antares F (USA) 4
4. Todd Minikus/Pavarotti (USA) 4
5. Darragh Kenny/Wannahave (IRL) 4
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