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Max Kühner is the master of faster in the CSI5* 1.50m Audi Prize in 's-Hertogenbosch

Saturday, 11 March 2023
CSI5* The Dutch Masters 2023

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Max Kühner and the 12-year-old gelding Up Too Jacco Blue raced to the win in Saturday night’s CSI5* 1.50m Audi Prize at The Dutch Masters. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



Max Kühner (AUT) and the 12-year-old gelding Up Too Jacco Blue (Chacco-Blue x Ard VDL Douglas) raced to the win in Saturday night’s CSI5* 1.50m Audi Prize at The Dutch Masters, finding an extra gear in an extremely fast jump-off in a fully seated Brabanthalle in 's-Hertogenbosch.

A total of 38 horse-and-rider combinations had lined up for the class, and nine of them managed to answer all the questions asked by course designer Louis Konickx around the thirteen-fence track. 

First to return for the jump-off, Scott Brash (GBR) and the only 9-year-old Hello Valentino (Diamantino x Careful 28) posted another beautiful clear – stopping the clock at 36.22 seconds. Mclain Ward (USA) followed, and went all in with Contagious (Contagio x For Keeps) – however, the risk turned costly when a pole fell on the VDL oxer mid-way. Victor Bettendorf (LUX) was next in the ring, and delivered an incredible round on Astuce de La Roque (Kannan x Quck Star) to cross the finish line in a seemingly unbeatable time – 32.94 seconds. 

Not even the notoriously fast pair Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Glamour Girl (VDL Zirocco Blue x Caletto I) could catch up with Bettendorf, slotting in 0.20 seconds behind the leading time. Jur Vrieling (NED), one of two home hopes in the jump-off, stood no chance against Bettendorf’s time – the clock stopped at 34.05 for him and Comme-Laude W (Comme Il Faut 5 x Diagonal) as the crowd cheered them on through the finish line.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Max Kühner and Up Too Jacco Blue, winners of the CSI5* 1.50m Audi Prize at The Dutch Masters. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Next in the ring, Max Kühner left his brakes at the in-gate and wasted absolutely no time around the shortened track aboard Up Too Jacco Blue – blazing through the finish line to stop the clock on an unbelievable 31.93 seconds, 1.01 seconds faster than Bettendorf. Neither Yuri Mansur (BRA) nor Pieter Devos (BEL) could do anything about the time to beat, and it was down to last to go Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED) – a former Olympic Champion and double World Champion – to try to catch up with Kühner. Cheered on by the home crowd, Dubbeldam and the 10-year-old Investment (Kannan x VDL Emilion) gave it a good shot but with a time of 34.07 seconds the two had to settle for fourth place, slotting in behind Kühner in first, Bettendorf in second and von Eckermann in third.

"I think it was a nice course, also with a good result, with nine clears," Kühner said about tonight's track – that proved tricky enough. "In a jump-off, Glamour Girl and Astuce de La Roque are both really fast horses, so I knew I could not lose one stride," he said about his plan for the deciding jump-off. 

Speaking about his horse Up Too Jacco Blue, Kühner said: "We have worked a bit more than two years together with him, and I have always felt that he had something special in him. However, it took a while before I could really ask for it. Today, everything I asked, he was with me. I think it was still a smooth round and I am very happy with our jump-off." 


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