It was a home win in Valkenswaard on Sunday evening as Harrie Smolders went all the way to the top on Regina Z (Rex Z x Savoy Hanover). Together with fourteen other riders the sympathetic Dutchman went on to the jump-off after clearing the 1.50 thirteen fence first track, that included several tricky lines – such as the line from the Longines oxer at fence five that was followed by two combinations at 6a and b and then at 7a and b.
The jump-off was bound to be fast with top riders in it. Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani opened the ball with a clear round on Eurocommerce California (Corland x Ramiro), and one rider later it was his team mate Bassem Hassan Mohammed that rode a lovely clear on Rosalia La Silla (Cassini I x Contender). Then followed Luciana Diniz who rode a beautiful and very fast round on Fit For Fun (For Pleasure x Fabriano) to stop the clock on 36.59 seconds – taking the lead.
It didn’t last for long though as Harrie was next to go. It was a determined Smolders that set off in top gear as he crossed the start, already racing down the first line – and then getting a super turn to the Longines oxer and not once pulling back to the following combination. Regina Z was in fighting mood, and looked amazing around the shortened track – and when the two crossed the finish line on a clean sheet and a time of 35.43 seconds the home crowds went wild.
The next clear came from Katharina Offel on the super jumping MCB Sommerwind (Seidon x Dynamo). The mare was sky high, and using some more time in the air than Regina Z and Fit For Fun – the time ended on 36.95, eventually good enough for fifth. A few riders later Kent Farrington had the best time of the day, but unfortunately the front pole on the final oxer came down. Ludger Beerbaum posted the next clear round on Chaman (Baloubet du Rouet x I Love You), slotting into second after one of his trademark rounds on a time of 36.08. Last to go in the jump-off was Simon Delestre, and using Valentino Velvet’s (Indoctro x Burggraaf) enourmous canter to his advantage the French rider managed to get extremely close to Harrie setting a time of 35.44 seconds – pushing Ludger down to third and Luciana to fourth.
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