World of Showjumping
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Vrieling wins the prestigious CSIO5* Loro Piana Grand Prix City of Rome after a dramatic battle

Sunday, 28 May 2017
CSIO5* Rome 2017

Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping. Jur Vrieling and VDL Glasgow vh Merelsnest won the Loro Piana Grand Prix City of Rome. Photo (c) Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

It was the hottest day of the CSIO5* event in Rome at Piazza di Siena on Sunday, when fifty pairs of the best horses and riders of the world set out to battle for the first prize in the prestigious 200,000 Euro Loro Piana Grand Prix of the City of Rome.

The 1.60m course set by the Italian master mind Uliano Vezzani had 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in it – including those delicate oxers filled with green bushes, that seem to appear when ever Vezzani is at work. As always, the competition was ridden over two rounds, the twelve best combinations getting through to the second round.

Ten pairs with a clear score and two carrying only one time fault from the first round, Giulia Martinengo Marquet (ITA) on the 10-year-old gelding Fine Edition (For Edition x Don Juan) and Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) on the 11-year-old stallion Caspar 232 (Berlin x Padarco 2), qualified to jump the shortened track set for the second round.

Alberto Zorzi (ITA) on the 12-year-old mare Fair Light van’t Heike (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Darco) set the fastest time of the day, but had to see the last fence fall – to the disappointment of the enthusiastic home crowds.

Starter number seven, Jur Vrieling on the 11-year-old stallion VDL Glasgow vH Merelsnest (Nabab de Reve x Darco), was the first one to leave all the poles up in the second round. With five left to go, Vrieling stayed away from the screens and walked his horse while the rest of the Dutch team kept a close eye on the action.

And action it was. Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) on the 12-year-old gelding Arrayan (Baloubet du Rouet x Grannus) had two fences down, Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) on the wonderful 13-year-old gelding Ensor de Litrange LXII (Nabab de Reve x Mr.Blue) saw an unfortunate pole fall at the second last fence, as did Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (ESP) on the 12-year-old gelding Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot (L'Arc de Triomphe x Apache d'Adriers).

Second last to go was Mark McAuley (IRL) and the 13-year-old gelding Miebello (Flyinge Quite Easy x Cardento), a pair that has recorded some impressive results lately. With one pole down in a time of 46,76 seconds the pair had to settle for fourth place today – another feather in the hat for the couple that did their first ever appearance on five-star level in Rome.

The Loro Piana Grand Prix of the City of Rome was drama all the way to the end. The first round had already offered some unexpected turns in form of tack malfunction, as the winning pair from two years ago, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) on the 15-year-old gelding Cantinero (Cento x Cash) was forced to retire after a rein broke. Also Francesco Turturiello (ITA) on the 10-year-old gelding Quinoa des Pres (Quidam's Rubin x Tanael du Serein) had a martingal snap open, but the pair was able to finish with four faults.

As the last pair to go in the second round, Douglas Lindelöw on the 12-year-old gelding Zacramento (Cardento x Cortus) had a dramatic fall in the combination – but luckily both horse and rider escaped the accident without injury.

With Zorzi sitting in second place and De Luca in third, it was the best Italian result in Rome for a long time. "Of course we would have wanted to be first and second, but we are very happy with this result also," Lorenzo de Luca laughed in the press conference after the class. "I am really happy with my horse!" he continued.

"I am very happy to win here. The crowds here in Rome are unbelievable," said the happy winner Jur Vrieling. "On Friday, as I had one fence down in the Nations Cup and the crowds started to applaud, as it was good for the Italian team – I didn't mind that. I actually think this is the best part of our sport – when we have an enthusiastic crowd that is so emotional! But today I was happy I did not have that fault," he laughed. "I had a scary moment coming into the double in the second round, because I saw a different stride that I had planned on. I did not have the optimal approach there, but my horse saved me. I think today it was 80% my horse and 20% the rider – not every horse would have cleared that fence from that spot," Vrieling said as he praised his horse and thanked his owners at VDL Stud.



Text and picture © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping

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