It was the eye-catcher Think Twice 111 Z (Toulon x Cassini I) that won the gold medal at the FEI World Breeding Jumping Championships for 7-year-old horses in Lanaken on Sunday. With Belgium’s Thierry Goffinet in the saddle, the half-sister of Luciana Diniz’s success horse Winningmood showed off her qualities to go all the way to the top in the final.
Think Twice 111 Z has several things in common with Winningmood; they share the same mother – Unellie 15 – and come from the same breeder – Harrie Theeuwes who runs Stud 111 in Belgium. The two half-siblings also share the same good looks as well as the color, and seemingly the talent in the ring is also the same.
Goffinet came fresh from his bronze medal in the 6-year-old final, but was still highly motivated when he entered the ring as fourth to go in the jump-off that counted only five horses and riders. “I think the course builder did a good job,” said bronze medalist Luc Steeghs when asked if the first-round track was too tough for the 39 horses. “With the age going up on the horses, you can ask a bit more and in the end it is about who has the day – who jumps clear and who has an unlucky fault, but again that is the sport and I don’t think that we should go lower or make it easier to have ten in the jump-off. I think this was a good class.”
Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca had set the standard as first to go with a clear round in 40.73 seconds aboard Jeleena de Muze, a mare by the Darco-stallion Tornado out of Maikel van der Vleuten’s international winner VDL Groep Eureka – bred by Christel Baert.
“I am really glad with how she jumped, she is one of my favorite horses by now. In Knokke, she jumped better and better in the 7-year-old classes,” said de Luca who got the ride on the mare in earlier this summer. “She deserves only the best, and for sure we are going to see more of this horse in the future.”
However, it looked possible to match Lorenzo’s time as fractions could be saved with a bit tighter and more daring turns. De Luca’s Stephex Stables’ colleague Jonna Ekberg gave the shortened 1.45m track a real go on the scopey Jasmien v. Bisschop (Larino x Chin Chin), but in her attempt to catch the time two poles fell to the ground.
As next to go, Dutch rider Luc Steeghs managed to keep all the fences intact with a beautiful round on the impressive Everest (Carambole x Indoctro, bred by Henstra & Henstra) slotting into temporary silver position with a time of 42.12 seconds.
“My plan was to go a little bit faster, but sometimes it happens and sometimes it just doesn’t happen and today it didn’t happen at all. My horse did an amazing job though. He is Lebanese owned, and they bought him at the Dutch Sport Horse Sales. They decided to keep him here to build him up for the bigger classes, for their son. Today, I think he proved that he has quality and scope enough to do the biggest classes in the end,” said Luc Steeghs who trains Everest in his spare time when he is not busy with his job as Chef d’Equipe for the Dutch junior and young riders.
As second last to go in the jump-off, Goffinet took all the risk aboard the brave Think Twice 111 Z to really tighten the turns before he went flat out on the stretch to the last Zangersheide oxer to cross the finish line on 40.06 seconds taking over the lead while celebrating from the saddle. And, when his compatriot Jan Motmans took a bit too much risk to one of the oxers to land in the middle of it with Jaguar (Chopin Van Het Moleneind x Cicero Z), the podium was settled with gold for Goffinet, silver for de Luca and bronze for Steeghs.
“After winning the Belgian Championships for 7-year-olds in Lummen, the plan was to not go to the shows for the next two months with her – then we went to Geesteren in July and she was three times clear there. Today, I knew that it was possible to do something, and she was really, really good,” said Goffinet. “We were just five riders in the jump-off, and when it was my turn there was only one clear and one left to go. The mare is fast, and today it was enough.”
Text © World of Showjumping // Pictures © Jenny Abrahamsson
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