It was Harrie Smolders and Equis Walnut de Muze (Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin) who took home the 1.55 Rabobank Kampioenschap von Rotterdam today. It was a big course and out of nearly 50 starts only five were clear. The course consisted of 16 fences including three combinations. Two of them came on a line as number 5 a, b and 6 a, b. The line caused problems for several riders as did the combination 13 a, b - the last two fences which kept several riders away from the jump-off.
The first clear came with Harrie as number 15 after a very good round. Then there was Gert-Jan Bruggink's turn as number 20 to please the home crowd and secure a jump-off. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Ninja La Silla (Guidam x Lys de Darmen) had a great round and proved their good form before the Europeans, unfortunately they had one time fault, but Rolf was not too disappointed in loosing out on the jump-off considering the championship in two weeks.
Maikel van der Vleuten is doing well these days and wanted a place in the jump off as well. Everyone held their breath as Maikel had a bad turn towards fence twelve, a big oxer, and VDL Groep Sapphire (Mr Blue x Grand Veneur) dropped her legs between the top poles. In some strange way the mare managed to avoid them and the Dutch crowd had three clear riders. A very good round from the Japanese rider Taizo Sugitani earned him a jump off position as well, and as the last rider to go also Laura Renwick managed to qualify.
The jump-off invited to lots of speed, but also gave the riders the opportunity to take some really tight turns. Harrie was first to go and put the pressure on the other riders with a great fast round. The clock stopped at 42.90. Gert-Jan didn't find the rythm and had two down, and Maikel tried his best to cath Harrie's time but missed it by 1.3 seconds. Taizo delievered another beautiful round, but didn't choose the tightest turns and came in after Harrie and Maikel at 46.85. Then it was time for the only female rider, Laura Renwick. She tried her best, but got the two last fences as the horse got a bit long towards the end, which meant that the homecrowd was pleased with Harrie and Maikel on top.
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