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Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P to the top in the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe at CHIO Aachen

Wednesday, 15 September 2021
CHIO Aachen 2021

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P flying to the win in the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe at CHIO Aachen. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



Wednesday’s feature class at CHIO Aachen was the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe, a qualifier for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix. Set at 1.60m, counting fourteen fences and seventeen efforts, Frank Rothenberger’s course saw no less than 20 out of the 48 horse-and-rider combinations in the class solve all the questions asked. 

The second round against the clock was open only to the twelve best based on the results in round one, with the time being a decisive factor, and the first to return under the floodlights was Max Kühner (AUT) with his 10-year-old gelding Elektric Blue P (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x For Pleasure). The winners of the Rolex Grand Prix in Den Bosch earlier this year delivered according to expectations, blazing around clear in 56.36 seconds – and the pressure was on for those to come.

Second to go, Marc Houtzager (NED) gave everyone a real fright when he had a fall at fence number one with Sterrehof’s Dante N.O.P. (Canturano x Phin-Phin). Luckily, both horse and rider got back on their feet and left the ring without any visible problems. 

The riders really had to take risk to catch up with Kühner, and with Rothenberger taking the entire main arena into use for his shortened nine-fence track, it was all or nothing. While Bart Bles and Gin D (Clinton x Skippy II) delivered a clear as next to go in 61.70, Daniel Bluman (COL) and Daniel Deusser (GER) took more chances with their speed and turns – but both fell victim to the penultimate Turkish Airlines oxer. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) also had a rail fall, and while it looked promising for Gregory Wathelet (BEL) the risk he took to the last upright proved costly and the top pole fell to the ground for Full House Ter Linden Z (Forever d’Arco Ter Linden x Cento).

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Runners-up: Luciana Diniz and Vertigo du Desert. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

For Wathelet’s compatriot Jerome Guery (BEL) the poles stayed in the cups though, and aboard the 12-year-old stallion Eras Ste Hermelle (Vargas de Ste Hermelle x Andiamo) the Belgian rider stopped the clock at 56.87 seconds – just slightly slower than Kühner.

As next to go, Luciana Diniz (POR) gave it a good shot with the lovely Vertigo du Desert (Mylord Carthago HN* x Robin II Z) and whistled on down to the last upright she crossed the finish line in 56.55 seconds – slotting in between Kühner and Guery. 

The poles kept falling, and the home hope Philipp Schulze Tophoff (GER) had two fences down – leaving the door open for the last two pairs. As second last to go, Pieter Devos (BEL) and MoM’s Isaura (Tinka’s Boy x Darco) delivered a solid performance – but with 57.95 seconds, the two left the top three untouched and slotted into fourth place ahead of Bles.

Darragh Kenny (IRL) has showed strong form during the first two days of CHIO Aachen, and as last to go he was the only threat left for Kühner. However, three poles fell for the Irish rider – and a beaming Kühner could celebrate by leading the lap of honour of the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe. “It is an amazing feeling to win in Aachen, also this year of course,” Kühner said with reference to the special circumstances caused by Covid-19 restrictions. “It is a good start, and it feels very promising for the rest of the week.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Third place went to Jerome Guery and Eras Ste Hermelle. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I did not expect it,” Kühner said about being first to go in the second round and delivering a performance good enough for the win. “From one to two there was a decision to be made, you could go really forward or just normal forward, but it felt so good with him to go really forward so I just took his rhythm, and the fences were there. He felt even better in the second round than in the first round, and I just took what he offered me.”

As the winner of the Rolex Grand Prix in Den Bosch in April, a bonus of 250 000 Euro is on offer for Kühner if he manages to repeat his feat in Aachen on Sunday. “There is a lot of motivation in that; let’s see what I can make of it!” Kühner smiled. 

While Diniz had to settle for the second place, she still wore a big smile. “I am getting the queen of second places in Aachen,” Diniz laughed. “But, it’s not that bad to be second, and better than third, so I am very happy and grateful for my horse – he was amazing tonight. Thanks to the organisers, to make it possible this year – I am very happy to be here, it is my second home!”

Guery was also full of praise for his horse. “I am really happy with how he jumped today,” the Belgian rider said. “Normally I use him for the medium classes and not really directly for the big class. He jumped amazing the first round, and when I saw Max’s second round I had no visions of going faster than him – and I did one extra stride on the first line, losing a bit time. But I am really happy that he went directly in a big class like this under the lights.”



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