Thursday’s biggest class at the five star event in Basel - the Golden Drum of Basel – went to Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet riding Conrad. And it was a good class for Belgium, as his compatriot Pieter Devos finished second – securing double Belgian on top of the podium in this prestigious class. Wathelet did an incredible job on the lovely nine year old Con Air-son, and as first to go in both rounds he rode beautiful clears and the second one so fast that none of the remaining ten riders in the jump-off could catch him.
It was no easy task the riders were served, as the 1.55 track consisting of twelve fences that included three combinations was both big and wide with the fences coming quickly out of the corners and turns. Still, eleven clears were ridden and three of them were from Swiss riders – much to the appreciation of a fully packed St. Jacobshalle.
The jump-off was a fast one, and when Gregory came in as first to go – he showed from the very beginning that he was in it to win. With super turns everywhere, and especially to the third last oxer before he took out his stallions huge strides to the remaining two fences and putting the foot on the gas on the final stretch – Gregory stopped the clock on 34.45. It looked very hard to beat! Four riders later Denis Lynch slotted into second after an amazing effort on the impressive All Star (Argentinus x Alme) that included an amazing race down to the final oxer, crossing the finish line on 34.45 seconds. It did not last for the Irish rider though as Pieter Devos came in towards the end, riding a super round of Dream of India Greenfield (Gem of India x Night and Day) that was only 0.42 seconds slower than Wathelet’s - taking the runner-up position.
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