The Belgian crowds got a late Christmas present when Gregory Wathelet took home the Rolex FEI World Cup qualifier in Mechelen tonight. On Fabien Schreiber’s stallion Copin van de Broy (Darco x Brownboy) Gregory delivered one of five double clears in the class that consisted of 38 riders, and was slightly faster than runner-up Kevin Staut on Haras des Coudrettes’ newly acquired Silvana *HDC (Corland x Widor). Third in the class was another Belgian rider; Rik Hemeryck on Quarco de Kerambars (Darco x Skippy II).
There would be 20 riders with fences down or other issues, before a clear round came in Mechelen. It was home rider Gregory Wathelet who was the first to go clear, causing celebrations from the Belgian crowds. Just one rider later there was another clear, this time it was German hotshot Hans-Dieter Dreher who was clear on another stallion; Magnus Romeo (Royal Feu x Hans Anders Z). Manuel Anon Suarez rode clear on his brilliant mare Rachel Chavannaise (Voltaire x Papillon Rouge), while Daniel Deusser in the meantime retired Untouchable 27 (Hors la Loi II x Heartbreaker) like three of the other riders in the class.
Denis Lynch followed after Manuel, and with the scopey Abberuail van het Dingeshof (Non Stop x Jus de Pomme) the Irish rider was clear. Kevin Staut also joined in for the jump-off on Silvana *HDC, as did next rider Harrie Smolders on the hot mare Regina Z (Rex Z x Savoy Hanover) – who both are in really good form at the moment. Janika Sprunger joined the boys as the only girl with a clear, on Uptown Boy (Odermus R x Joost) the Swiss rider rode yet another good round. Last to go, on home soil, Rik Hemeryck also made a popular clear round on Quarco de Kerambars.
First to go in the eight horse jump-off was Gregory. With a fast round on 36.69 he really put the pressure on, and it would show that the Belgian rider was impossible to catch. Dreher was the second rider out, and pushed in behind Gregory on 37.46 – in the end good enough for fourth. Manuel had one down, while Denis Lynch was clear again but could not catch Gregory and Hans-Dieter settling in behind the two. Kevin came into the ring as next, and set off determined on Silvana *HDC. It was close, but not enough – the French pair was 0.10 seconds behind leader Wathelet and ended up as runner-ups. Harrie had two down on the feisty Regina Z albeit with a good time, while Janika Sprunger got in trouble and was eliminated after jumping the wrong fence. Rik Hemeryck was last to go, and pushed on the bay 11 year old stallion to end up third on 37.45 – much to the joy of the audience in Mechelen.
Click here for full results.
The top ten riders in the Western European league after Mechelen:
1. Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, 71 points
2. Denis Lynch, 54 points
3. Kevin Staut, 53
4. Steve Guerdat, 51 points
5. Nick Skelton, 48 points
6. Scott Brash, 43 points
7. Patrice Delaveau, 42 points
8. Emilie Martinsen, 41 points
9. Pius Schwizer, 40 points
10. Harrie Smolders, 34 points.
Click here for the full standing.
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