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Marc Houtzager speeds to victory in Rabobank Grand Prix

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Marc Houtzager could celebrate yet another win in Den Bosch. Photos by Hanne Christensen.After a super fast jump-off it was Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Opium (Polydor x Bormio) that stood as winners of the Rabobank Grand Prix in Den Bosch. It was a very exciting class, watched by a huge crowd and the atmosphere was at its best at Indoor Brabant. Seven of the thirty riders went to the jump-off; three of them came from Stall Beerbaum as Marco Kutscher on Satisfaction FRH (Stakkato x Calypso II), Ludger Beerbaum on Chiara (Contender x Coronado) and Philipp Weishaupt on Souvenir (Stakkato x Lemon) all produced clear rounds.

Richard Spooner continued his good form on Apache (Mescalaro x unknown), and also secured a place in the jump-off – as did a very happy Ali bin Kaled Al Thani who rode a great first round on L.B. Casanova (Cadillac x Casino Boy). These riders were joined by last night’s winner Marc Houtzager and Benas Gutkauskas who also cleared the twelve fence track.

Marco Kutscher opened the jump-off, and put some pressure on the other riders with a clear and fast round at 30.36 seconds – even though there was some tension when Satisfaction touched the penultimate vertical. Richard Spooner was next to go, and had a really short and good turn with a great angel to the same fence that Satisfaction touched. Spooner managed to shave off 0.33 seconds on Kutscher’s time and took the lead. Ludger sat off in a high pace, but was behind Spooner despite his efforts.

Ali bin Kaled Al Thani did two great rounds on L.B. Casanova and finished second.Then it was time for Ali bin Kaled Al Thani. Yet again he produced a fantastic round with his 15 year old stallion. A short turn to the penultimate vertical and a race down to the last oxer gave Al Thani the lead, 0.73 seconds ahead of Spooner. The crowds went wild, and Al Thani was very happy with another wonderful round. Philipp Weishaupt looked dangerous, but had the third fence down and was out of the contest.

Marc Houtzager is always fast, and today was no exception. On the feisty Sterrehof’s Opium – well known for his bucks – Marc raced around the track, took a minimal turn to the penultimate vertical and raced down with some interrupting bucks from his 16 year old stallion to the last oxer with cheers and loud encouragement from the home crowds. And Marc did what almost seemed undoable; he shaved off 0.12 seconds on Al Thani’s time. There was nothing last to go Benas Gutkausas could do about Houtzager, who could celebrate his second win in 24 hours on home soil.

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