With the stallion Bacardi, Marc Bettinger won the FEI Zangersheide Sires of the World competition. This is what the German rider said at the press conference following his win:
"I have been riding him now for the last 1,5 years and I was a bit lucky to get him. As everybody knows, I ride for Francois Mathy and a client tried Bacardi. The first time he was super, so we bought him for the client. But when he got there to try him the second time it was a bit windy... A jacket blew away in the wind and the client fell off, and then he didn't want to buy the horse anymore. We liked Bacardi, and I'm really thankful to Francois Mathy that lets me ride the horse. "
"He started with the small classes, and he is a character so it took me quite a while to get him in order. I rode him for two months, and then he started to jump better and better and now he is amazing. Last year he won a couple of Grand Prix classes and this year I rode eight or nine Grand Prix competitions on him, and either he won or was placed. He is very consistent now. In the stable he is a character and you need to be a bit careful. He is not mean, but he wants to see who is the boss. But I like this, and you can see today in the jump-off that he says 'Ok, now we fight for it'. This makes him so strong."
"First I was not to optimistic for the jump-off, because he likes them with more turns more and with turns he is really, really fast. I was first to go and I thought that in worst case I'm seventh. I'm going to try. He knew it was important today and it felt like he wanted to win the class. When I left the ring I thought that it was possible to be one second faster, but he did his best and I did my best today and it worked out."
"I have seen two of his sons and they were jumping really nice. Janne-Friederike Meyer from Germany has bought a really good 5 year old by him, so we decided to take semen from him and I think we will have some foals from him next year," Marc laughed.
Second place went to Sam Polleunis who was really happy with his Okidoki van't Gelutt Z:
"I have been riding Okidoki van't Gelutt Z for half a year. The horse has been at Axel Verlooy's stable where Harrie Smolders has been riding him before I got him. Okidoki came to me as several people thought he wasn't good enough for the biggest classes, but I have had a good feeling from the first time I sat on him and would really like to prove that he is good enough. Everything has been going faster than expected and I really think he is one for the big work.
My plan was actually to ride another horse in the Belgian Championships, but Okidoki has been going so good lately that I chose to ride him. I had one down in both the first and second qualifier so we were not good enough for the final. That is why I chose to ride him here in the Sires of the World instead. And I'm really happy I did!"
James Billington took the third place with VDL Cartello:
"My horse is eight years old and I have been riding him since he was a seven year old. He belongs to the VDL Stud, his father is Cartani and his mother is the same mother as Cardento's. He came when he was seven after being produced nicely by a Dutch guy that also ride for VDL. I jumped him a lot in 1,30-1,35 classes in the beginning. His character is very strong and he was always fighting a little bit against me, and always gave me the feeling that he needs to jump bigger. I tried to train him, and make it good - and he always felt like he wasn't interested in the height. At the beginning of this year I started to jump him at 1,40 level, but it still was too easy. And in May I took him to CSI2* in Roosendal and let him jump the ranking class where he was second and the weekend after in Verden I jumped the Grand Prix and he won the class. He jumps better and better and tries harder the bigger it gets. Today he gave me a really good feeling and the first round was probably the biggest course he jumped so far.
Marc says that it was possible to go faster than him, but I felt like my face was squeezed back by the wind. I have never pushed him that hard, but he is in top form jumping now so I wasn't worried to try."
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