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Niels Bruynseels keeps on riding his winning wave to claim 330 000 Euro Longines Grand Prix of Basel

Sunday, 15 January 2017
Longines CSI5* Basel 2017

Photo (c) Katja Stuppia/Longines CSI Basel. Niels Bruynseels and Ganzia de Muze won the Longines Grand Prix of Basel. Photo (c) Katja Stuppia/Longines CSI Basel.

Niels Bruynseels is in top form, and surfed into another big win on Sunday when he went to the top of the 330 000 Euro Longines Grand Prix of Basel riding Ganzia de Muze (Malito de Reve x Nimmerdor).

The first round of the five-star Longines Grand Prix of Basel saw ten riders producing clear rounds over the 1.60m track. Much to the joy of the Swiss crowds, these ten included three home riders as Martin Fuchs on Clooney (Cornet Obolensky x Ferragamo), Steve Guerdat on Big Red (Ludwig von Bayern x Nimmerdor) and Paul Estermann on Lord Pepsi (Lord Pezi x Santander H) all went clear. Among those on a clean sheet were also crowd favorites Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Casall Ask (Caretino x Lavall I), winners of the Golden Drum on Friday, as well as living legend John Whitaker on Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato).

The time-allowed definitely played its part in the first round, with the riders being forced to keep on moving forwards in order to avoid penalties – causing more than one pole to hit the dust. For round two, fifteen riders returned which meant Austria's Christian Rhomberg joined in with his one-time penalty and then four more riders with a pole down got a place to challenge those that already went clear. For round two, the course had been reduced to eight fences with two elements of the former triple combination half-way, and this time the riders had to chase the clock as well.

In the end, the five riders carrying faults with them had no chance to reach into the top six – despite going clear against the clock.

Edwina Tops-Alexander and the feisty Lintea Tequila (Campbell x Corrado II) were the first pair to go double clear, and the Australian rider went up in front after stopping the time on 42.18 seconds. Tops-Alexander was followed by Steve Guerdat who had no choice but to go for it and in the attempt took the wall down with him, falling down the ranks.

Belgium's Niels Bruynseels left no doubt that he was in for the win, and gave full gas on Ganzia de Muze from the beginning. Quick as lightning, the super careful mare answered every task that was given her with a yes. The pair was perhaps a bit lucky on Longines upright set as the third last fence, but the top rail stayed in the cups – and when the two crossed the finish line it was more than good enough for the lead with a time of 41.19 seconds.

Although the rest of the field all tried, it would prove impossible to beat Bruynseels. Maikel van der Vleuten on the scopey Salomon (Stolzenberg x Aramis) impressed in the first round, but with a more moderate speed against the clock the Dutch rider eventually finished sixth. Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts and the lovely H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) were next up. They two really gave it a go, but with a time of 42.56 they slotted in behind Tops-Alexander into temporary third.

John Whitaker chased Bruynseels as best as he could, but not even the British veteran could do anything about the Belgian rider’s time taking over second place with his time of 42.16 aboard Ornellaia (For Pleasure x Calato) pushing Tops-Alexander down to third and Philippaerts to fourth.

None of the remaining four riders could do anything with the top four. Max Kühner had the Longines upright down, Martin Fuchs did a nice clear in 44.43 seconds ending as the best home rider in fifth place while Bengtsson had the a-element of the former triple combination down. As last to go, Paul Estermann got a bad distance to the last fence and came flying in to take it down – leaving the victory with Belgium’s Niels Bryunseels who keeps riding on his winning wave.


Text © World of Showjumping // Picture © Katja Stuppia/Longines CSI Basel

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