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Von Eckermann clinches victory on first day of Tops International Arena CSI5*

Friday, 09 July 2021
CSI5* Tops International Arena 2021

Photo © Tops International Arena Henrik von Eckermann and Glamour Girl won Friday's CSI5* 1.50m at Tops International Arena. Photo © Tops International Arena.


Press release from Tops International Arena



Henrik von Eckermann stormed to a decisive victory with a breathtakingly fast clear round in today’s CSI5* 1.50 speed class partnering with the blistering fast Glamour Girl (VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P. x Caletto I). Marcus Ehning was just 0.05s behind on the speedy stallion Stargold (Stakkato Gold x Lord Weingard) while Bryan Balsiger and Dubai du Bois Pinchet (Kashmir van Schuttersho x Andiamo Z) picked up the last spot on the podium. 

Speaking after his win, von Eckermann said: “Glamour Girl has been so consistent this year, amazing results, every time she goes to a show she brings something home. She has an unbelievable stride especially in an arena like this with fantastic footing.”

Poles fell around the twisting course built by Uliano Vezzani as it was a battle of the best in the stunning grass arena. 34 combinations came forward in this class against the clock with 18 riders finishing on a clean sheet proving just how crucial the time was. 

First to go in this testing track was Laura Klaphake and Davenport VDL (Diamant de Semilly x Indoctro). They looked in great form before both parts of the Stal Tops Gates fell finishing with 8 faults and out of contention today. Next in, home rider Willem Greve and Highway M TN (Eldorado van de Zeshoek TN x Chellano Z) had a plan from the start. They made it an easy roll back mid way through the course and picked up the first clear of the day to stop the clock in 70.67 seconds. 

Clearing the Equine America fence with ease Ludger Beerbuam was a fraction slower than Greve on the stunning grey Mila (Monte Bellini x HH Linton) leaving the door open for the rest of the field. It was then Bryan Balsiger who left out all the strides where possible on Dubai du Bois Pinchet to complete in a blistering time of 65.18 seconds and fly into the lead. 

Despite being known for his speed Julien Epaillard and Solero MS (Silvio I x Espri) wiped out their chances of top spot today after a pole fell at the liverpool oxer on the long side. The heartache continued as young talent Micheal Pender rode a phenomenal round on HHS Burnchurch  (Heritage Fortunus x Cavalier Royale) but the final fence fell crushing their chances on the win today after looking like they were set to take over the lead. 

Speed demon Henrik von Eckermann then took centre stage with 10 year old bay Glamour Girl. Setting off at a flat out gallop they jumped fence two on the angle and clearly meant business. The combination got deep to fence seven but Glamour Girl got herself out of trouble and they covered the ground at top speed to cut two seconds off the time to beat and finish in 63.25 seconds. 

Straight after him the German legend Marcus Ehning showed all his class on the fiery stallion Stargold. Jumping carefully and wasting no time in the air they were only held back by Stargold getting excited and throwing bucks in between the fences. This proved costly taking the win from as they had to settle for second place just 0.05 slower then Von Ekkermann winning time. 

Marlon Módolo Zanotelli brought out his talented stallion Grand Slam VDL (VDL Cardento x Heartbreaker) to this challenging course and pulled out all the stops to finish with a zero score and in 66.56 seconds clinching fourth place and setting them up perfectly for the rest of the weekend's world class competitions. 

A shock result would come from Simon Delestre and Qopilot Batilly Z (Qlassic Bois Margot x Cabdula du Tillard) and Harrie Smolders with Bingo du Parc (Mylord Carthago*HN x Diamant de Semilly), the talented pairs both finishing on 8 faults and towards the bottom of the leaderboard today. 

Towards the end of the class the super consistent combination of Evelina Tovek and Winnetou de la Hamente Z (Winningmood x Socrate de Chivre) rode an extraordinary round from start to finish to earn themselves a spot just inside the top 10. 

In the other seven CSI1* and CSI2* competitions running alongside there were seven different nationalities on top. The first summer event at the beautiful Tops International Arena was opened by the Young Horses on Friday morning and it was top German rider Marcus Ehning who rode a super fast clear round with the six-year-old stallion Comme Sa Mere (Comme il faut x Lord Z). Ireland's top rider Darragh Kenny was the fastest in the 1.45m two phase with the nine-year-old Storiall Blue (Stakkato x Chacco-Blue). In the first competition of the CSI1*, two phases 1.30/1.35m, 26 riders came to the start in the grass arena, which was, as always, in a beautiful condition. The Belgian Sky Morssinkhof was the fastest with the BWP mare Nina vh Scheefkasteel (Numero Uno x Diamant de Semilly). The 19-year-old rode a clear round in 28.85 seconds. "This is a very good start! Nina is a real fighter and wants to win. In the turn to the vertical I think I won the competition. I could make a short turn there and the distance was good." Valkenswaard is one of her favourite events: "I really like being here, I always have a super good feeling here."


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