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It's "Harrie's Game" as the world no. one scorches home to win the Loro Piana Trophy

Saturday, 26 May 2018
CSIO5* Piazza di Siena 2018

Photo (c) CSIO Roma / M. Grassia Harrie Smolders and Cas 2 won the Loro Piana Trophy at Piazza di Siena. Photo (c) CSIO Roma / M. Grassia.

You don’t get to the world no. one spot by chance, and The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders showed exactly why he is top of the world rankings when producing an exquisite speed round to win Saturday's Loro Piana Trophy at CSIO Rome - Masters d’Inzeo at Piazza di Siena.

With 11 through to the jump-off it was always going to be fast and furious, and it was Emanuele Gaudiano, a member of yesterday’s victorious Italian team in the Nations Cup, who set the pace when stopping the clock in 35.40 seconds with Chalou (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet du Rouet).

Smolders started eighth and smashed that target time when racing through the timers in 34.14 seconds which was always going to be near-impossible to beat. However Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and the super-handsome black gelding Alamo (Ukato x Equador) gave it their best show when slotting into runner-up spot after breaking the beam in 35.04 and demoting Gaudiano to third.

Smolders’ 11-year-old gelding, Cas 2 (Indoctro x Numero Uno), was bought from Irish rider Cameron Hanley 18 months ago. “He was one of Cameron’s really promising horses for the future, and at first he was ridden by Audrey Coulter (USA) but when she decided to stop riding because she got a big job opportunity then Copernicus Stables gave me the horses to ride, and that’s why I’m in the position now to be so successful,” Smolders explained. “Cas is very brave, very careful and very competitive, and now we know each other very well so he’s faster in the jump-olf and understands the game better,” he added.

Smolders may be top-of-the-world but he’s not a man to lose his head, remaining grounded and humble as he demonstrated today. “The reason I am where I am is because my horses are at the right age with the right experience and I feel very lucky. This is the first time in my career to be in this position - I now have five or six horses for top sport. I have a good string and I enjoy every moment I can be with them because I know there will be difficult times in the future. And it’s a time for our stable to be proud because at the end of the day this is all a team effort!” the Dutchman said.

Earlier in the day, Italy's own Gianni Govoni lifted spirits once again with a brilliant win with the aptly-named Quicksilver (Quick Star x breeding unknown) in the KEP Italia Speed 1.45m event. Govoni is a double-Olympian and finished individually fifth at the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, and his time of 56.75 seconds was never going to be beaten today. But he said he was particularly happy to win because it didn’t quite work out for him over the previous two days. “We made mistakes yesterday and the day before but I knew we could be fast enough and today it was perfect! Quicksilver has had a few nice wins over the last few weeks so has been on form!”


Source: Press release from CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena // Picture © CSIO Roma / M. Grassia

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