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Markus Stock wins the Grand Prix at the CSI2* event in Budapest

Monday, 01 December 2014

Markus Stock won the Grand Prix at the CSI2* event in Budapest. Photos (c) Lulu Kyriacou.The seventh running of UNIQA CSI** Budapest, began with the announcement of a new agreement to establish cooperation between the Hungarian Equestrian Federation and the Ministry of Agriculture citing the show as the market place of all equestrian businesses in Hungary. This was a first for the European horse world as the government in Hungary have specifically decided that using horses as a marketing tool in the way forward to promoting both agriculture and country pursuits. Dr Jármy Miklós, who is the veterinary member of the board at the Federation explained that the newly signed document would help the show, founded by the carriage driving Lazlo brothers, grow for future years.

"Unfortunately, we had a combination of circumstances this year which meant the show had to change dates and run over two days instead of three and this then had a financial impact so we lost the FEI World Cup showjumping qualifier, but this agreement with a government agency will help address some of those issues and we will hope to be back to a three day 3* show next year. The government in Hungary completely recognises that the raising of animals in the country side creates jobs and it is not just about the five state owned studs but also the private civilian sector that encourages this. Because of our socialist history, the balance between state and civil stake holders has not been quite right but we hope this agreement will address this."

It was an emotional win for James Wingrave on Achlleus in the opening speed class.CSI Budapest was the first indoor three star show in the region and the loss of both the ranking and the qualifier have meant a trek to Slovenia for the nearest replacement. But the Hungarians are to be applauded for their forward thinking with regard to equestrian business. "If you look at this show" continued Dr Miklós, "you will see it is not just FEI sport here but a coming together of all horse people and the government has seen that the horse is the most marketable of animals and encouraging growth in the horse industry will also help other non mechanised industries."

The jumping began with the usual speed class but there was nothing mundane about the result, which prompted a few tears to be shed amongst the audience when James Wingrave galloped to victory on Achlleus. The British born rider who has made Hungary his home for over ten years and represented them in countless Nations Cups and a World Championship has spent a few years in the showjumping wilderness after his then best horse was sold prior to the 2010 World Championships. A broken leg in the meantime didn't help but these turn out to be minor misfortunes in comparison when James' longtime friend and mentor, Michael Bullman, passed away suddenly in August.

"The last few months have been especially difficult" confessed James " and this victory means a great deal not just because of that but because after Crosshill was sold (to Athina Onassis de Miranda) and I didn't have anything ready to replace him, you get yourself into a place where you think you will never get back up there again. To me, it doesn't make a difference whether this was big tour or small tour, it was just great to be back in the winner's circle, especially here in front of everyone who has supported me over the last few months in particular. That seems to have been Mike's legacy, that people have shown how much they loved and respected him by helping me now." The nine year old grey who was bred by Paul Schochemóhle and is owned by one of those loyal supporters, Gáspar Gyula's Agropoint Kft , won his class by over a second after being steered to a couple of quite audacious turns by his rider. In second, despite maintaining a furious gallop throughout, was another Hungarian Peter Szuhai and the aptly named Turbo Breaker.

Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski and Crazy Quick won the Grand Prix qualifier.The Polish riders attending the show made their presence felt in the other two classes, including the evening's Euro 6000 Uniqa Grand Prix qualifier. This went to Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski on his chestnut gelding by Chacco who lived up entirely to his name of Crazy Quick. Whipping round every turn, the pair stopped the clock a hefty three seconds ahead of second place finisher Marcus Stock, whose Quick Step (by Quick Star) could not go quite quick enough! This class provided a good result for show co- founder and organizer Zoltan Lazar, whose son, Zoltan Jnr, was fourth, much to the evident excitement of his father. The senior Lazar brothers have been a dominant force in driving for many years, and have rock star status in their home country, so it will be interesting to see if Zoltan the Younger can have the same effect on show jumping!

On Sunday morning Jorne Sprehe put one in the bag for Germany winning the Bakonyerdo Prix on her Kolibri gelding Kick Like Bum and the Tchibo Prix was won by Peter Szuhai going one better this time on Turbo Breaker. The stallion by Heartbreaker was five seconds faster than the next best, but the money was all kept in the family anyway......second spot went to Peter's brother Gyula riding Casinger.

Hungary's own Balázs Krucso and Condor 561 ended second in the Grand Prix.The Grand Prix saw a twisty course built by Magdolna Frdelyi which started with a viaduct wall and ended with a hefty maximum height oxer. In between there were a double and a combination (oxer, stile, oxer) but the most tricky line was the dog leg turn from the water tray at three to the upright at four. Seven riders made it through to the jump off most of which had been involved in other prize givings during the weekend and it was Hungary's own Balázs Krucso who set the standard with his gelding Condor 561 (by Cassini) in a time of 36.96. But sadly for him and the enthusiastic home crowd it was the very last man in who denied the show of a home win. Markus Stock had already shown, as mentioned earlier that his horse was as fast as its name suggested and a furious gallop to the last saw Quick Step blast through the line in 36.45 and send the 7000 Euro first prize to Austria. The Czech Republic filled third with Andrzej Oplatex riding El Camp and Hungary's darling girl Marianne Hugyecz was fourth with Chacco Boy.

Click here for results from the Grand Prix.

Text and photos by Lulu Kyriacou

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