After a jump-off that was nothing but lightning-quick, Maikel van der Vleuten went off with the win in the Prix GDE in Paris riding the beautiful VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I). It was a case of chase and catch in this 1.55 class at the Gucci Paris Masters, where Van der Vleuten played the game the best tonight. “It was a nice jump-off - I could just go the whole way, Verdi is getting faster now. Two or three years ago I could not go for a win like this, but now I can. I can leave him a bit more fresh now, and still have the control,” Maikel said to World of Showjumping after his win.
Eleven riders went clear in round one. The first clear was set by the rider who opened the class – Jos Verlooy – and when Simon Delestre followed up with another clear as second to go, it looked like the jump-off would end up crowed. It was a gap of twelve riders before the next clear was set by Gregory Wathelet though, and then eight more followed.
Verlooy opened up the jump-off on Domino (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Azur Depaulstra), and set another great clear in 37.74 seconds to put serious pressure on those to come. Home hero Simon Delestre set out next to defend the French colours, and lived up to the expectations by not once pulling back aboard the incredible Ryan des Hayettes (Hugo Gesmeray x Ryon d'Anzex) shaving off no less than 2.04 seconds on Verlooy's time.
Gregory Wathelet managed the seemingly impossible as next to go though. Aboard Conrad de Hus (Con Air x Locato) Wathelet shaved off -0.08 seconds on Delestre's time to take over the lead. It did not last for long though as Luciana Diniz went flat out on Lennox (Lifestyle x Grammus) around the shortened track, doing eight strides to the double pushing the time down to 35.45 seconds.
Following Daniel Deusser's one down, Constant van Paesschen seized the opportunity on Citizenguard Toscan de Sainte Hermelle (Surcouf de Revel x Bayac de Sainte Hermelle) taking off another 0.13 seconds on the leading time. It was not a long lasting lead though as Maikel van der Vleuten used VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P.'s huge canter to his advantage, making it all look easy while still going around incredibly fast cutting off no less than 0.57 seconds on Constant's time. None of those to come could do anything about Maikel; Edwina Tops-Alexander had the last vertical down, Lucy Davis also had to see a pole fall while Martin Fuchs had two down – leaving the win with the sympathetic Dutch rider, second place with Van Paesschen and third place with Diniz.
“Verdi is such happy horse, and he really likes to do his job. Now he will get the day off tomorrow, and then jump the Grand Prix on Sunday,” Maikel said of his winning partner afterwards.
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