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Marlon Modolo Zanotelli and Harwich VDL take the top honours in the CSI4* 1.55m Grand Prix in Arezzo

Sunday, 09 April 2023
CSI4* Arezzo 2023

Photo © Arezzo Equestrian Centre/Toscana Tour Marlon Modolo Zanotelli and Harwich VDL won the CSI4* 1.55m Grand Prix in Arezzo. Photo © Arezzo Equestrian Centre/Toscana Tour.


Text © World of Showjumping



At the Toscana Tour in Arezzo, Italy, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) and the 11-year-old gelding Harwich VDL (Arezzo VDL x Darco) took the top honours in Sunday's CSI4* 1.55m Grand Prix – a qualifier for both the 2023 FEI European Championships and the 2024 Olympic Games, which also counted for the Longines Ranking. 

Fifty out of over 100 riders had qualified for the Grand Prix, and only eight of them managed to answer all the questions asked around the 13-fence track – it was as expected a tough test that waited for the horses and riders. First to return for the jump-off, Alain Jufer (SUI) set the pace aboard Dante MM (Diarado x Luxius) with a clear round in 45.45 seconds. However, that was quickly bettered – first by Francois Xavier Boudant (FRA) and Brazyl du Mezel (Haloubet de Gorze x Apache d'Adriers) that shaved the time down to 44.37, then a few riders later by Marlon Modolo Zanotelli who delivered an incredible round with Harwich VDL to stop the clock at 42.36 seconds. Not even Steve Guerdat (SUI) could catch the Brazilian rider; the 2012 Olympic Champion had to settle for the runner-up position with his time of 43.94 seconds aboard Albführen's Maddox (Cohiba 1198 x Maraton). Following Modolo Zanotelli, Guerdat, Boudant and Jufer, the fifth place went to Gregory Cottard (FRA) and Bibici (Norman Pre Noir x Nelfo du Mesnil), who had the last double clear of the Grand Prix.

“I think the course builder did a fantastic job today,” Zanotelli said. “When you walked it, it looked nice – everything in a flow, but actually it was quite tricky and it was a lot of faults everywhere, especially the triple combination caused a lot of problems and the last line as well.”

“Harwich has been feeling in great shape; he jumped fantastic last week – he was double clear and third in the Grand Prix. Now again this week; I already had a very good feeling on Friday, he has not touched a pole the two weeks he has been here,” Zanotelli continued.

“The first round suited me, and he jumped fantastic,” Zanotelli said. “Harwich is a special horse for me; really careful and scopey, and always trying to do his best. His mentality is his best quality, he is such a trier – I think it comes a bit from his father Arezzo VDL because Edgard is very much the same. They are totally different types of horses, but have the same mentality and are really careful – they always want to do their best, whatever you ask them to do.”

“In the jump-off, I had the chance to go in a bit towards the end so I could watch a few,” Zanotelli explained. “To be honest, everyone was going to do the same strides on the lines so for me I thought if I could shape a bit the lines, get to keep my rhythm and momentum, that could help me – also to get one stride less to the double and trust in Harwich’s quality. That worked out very good today and I’m very pleased with him. I’m very lucky to have him in my stable, and to have the support of the VDL Stud with all the other horses they bring to me.”

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