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Gregory Wathelet after the €1.000.000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen: "Today I think she gave us back"

Sunday, 23 July 2017
CSIO5* Aachen 2017

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson. The happy winning team: Judith, Gregory, Coree and Sylvain! Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Gregory Wathelet, Luciana Diniz and Marc Houtzager all met the press after topping the € 1.000.000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen – of course all three with a big smile on their face.

Aachen seems to be a lucky place for Belgium's Gregory Wathelet. Having won the individual silver medal here at the 2015 European Championships, he today went on to win the € 1.000.000 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen and said: "I think all the riders like Aachen. I have been clear a few times in the first round here in the Grand Prix, but it has never really worked all the way – so I am happy it did today and that everything went well!"

On this important day, Wathelet had a good feeling from the beginning: "Coree is like that – when we have a good connection, she is amazing and can jump everything. I had a lot of confidence going in because the feeling was good and she jumped perfect.”

About his jump-off, Wathelet detailed: “I knew I had to take some risk because Luciana was very fast!”

Wathelet has known Coree for a long time, but it was not until recently that the wonderful grey mare was secured for him. "I have followed her since she was 6-years-old, and she came to me when she was 8. The plan was to sell her, like with all my horses – but I was really lucky to find Judith Goelkel, who made it possible for me to keep riding her," Gregory said, thanking his supporter and the owner of Coree. "Today I think she gave us back." 

Wathelet, who now goes on to hunt the coveted Rolex Grand Slam and the generous bonuses offered, is not planning to bring Coree to the next leg in Spruce Meadows, Calgary. "I know that the Rolex Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows falls on my birthday, but my plan is not to bring Coree there – in case she should do the Europeans Championships. Normally Eldorado should go to Calgary, and of course I would like to do as well there as I did here." 

Luciana Diniz was happy, even though she had to settle for the second place. "I must say that I am so happy to be here and to be second today – this is an amazing show, I love Aachen. A dream was very close to coming true today!"

When asked about the very relaxed manner that she and her horse Fit For Fun approached the jump-off with, walking in on long reins and stopping for a few moments, Diniz said: "I always believe that there is power in serenity and in being quiet – so I try to be very quiet and find serenity to give my best in the jump-off. It is a thing for me and her: We both take a few minutes of silence, we trust each other and that is how we perform the best.”

Marc Houtzager was the first to go in the jump-off, and explained: "Being the first to go is always difficult, and I knew I had fast riders behind me. The ground in front of the Mercedes-Benz oxer was a little bit slippy, so I did not want to make a short turn there – so I took a bit time and had lost already. But Calimero jumped super today and I am very happy with him!" 

German course designer Frank Rothenberger was a happy man: "I am just so happy that we got a jump-off, compared to last year… (…) The ground was a little bit my concern today.”

CHIO Aachen Event Director Frank Kemperman thanked his team and the hundreds of volunteers for making it all go around, and Rolex for making the Grand Prix of Aachen possible. "Today we had fantastic sport – thank you to the riders and horses for that. This is a start for Gregory on hunting the Grand Slam; our friends in Calgary and Geneva are waiting for you! We had over 357860 spectators in ten days, so we are very happy!" 


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson

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