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...aaand, action: The Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe in images

Thursday, 29 June 2023
CHIO Aachen 2023

It was all about Brazilian belief in Wednesday’s CSIO5* 1.60m Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe at CHIO Aachen, which ended with an emotional win for Yuri Mansur riding the 10-year-old mare Miss Blue-Saint Blue Farm (Chacco-Blue x Zirocco Blue VDL). In 2018, Mansur’s heart horse Vitiki suffered a near career ending injury when breaking his leg in the jump-off of the Prize of Europe – so to five years later win the class had many different dimensions to it for Mansur, who always wears his heart on his sleeve when competing but especially so at this venue, which holds so many memories for him. That the victory came on a Brazilian bred horse made it taste even sweeter for Mansur. 

“Like I said before, if I could go back and change my past, I would not. What happened with Vitiki caused me a lot of pain, but I improved so much as a horseman, as a rider and as a person because of it,” Mansur said to World of Showjumping. “This is about life; you have to keep trying and keep fighting – and you have to believe.”

For Yuri's family and team this was surely more than another win; it was a moment where a lot of belief, dedication, hard work and support paid off, and for his wife Louisie it was difficult to hold the tears back.

Photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Mansur celebrates his first clear round with the Brazilian bred Miss Blue-Saint Blue Farm, who within a year has gone from jumping 1.30m classes to now be successful at five-star Grand Prix level.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ As expected, Frank Rothenberger’s fourteen-fence track was a tough nut to crack. The first ones managing to leave all the poles up were Marc Houtzager and Sterrehof’s Dante, but a cautious approach to the last line resulted in two time penalties for the Dutch rider.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ In total, five riders were kept out of the jump-off due to time penalties and one of them was Eugenio Garza Perez with the lovely Contago who made the difficult course look easy.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ A hot air balloon flying past Soers.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It was Swiss super-talent Edouard Schmitz who was the first to solve Rothenberger’s riddle – opting for a daring five strides to the last double – and crossing the finish line clear with Gamin van’t Naastveldhof.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Two riders later, a jump-off was secured as Yuri Mansur and the lovely Miss Blue-Saint Blue Farm delivered the second clear of the competition.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Maximum unlucky... A pole on the first oxer fell for Shane Sweetnam and the powerhouse James Kann Cruz, who for the rest of the course stayed clear.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Simon Delestre and Dexter Fontenis Z were clear in round one but opted not to do the jump-off.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Ben Maher's Faltic HB was clear all the way to the last combination where he decided that he had done enough and slammed on the brakes twice – causing elimination for the Olympic champion.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Alain Jufer really had to work for his clear round with Dante MM.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Richard Vogel and the exuberant United Touch S. The two made the crowds gasp when opting for five strides after the open water, then three strides to the plank and then six to the last combination at 14ab to clear it almost from a standstill.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Not even reigning European Champions Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria could solve all the questions asked by Frank Rothenberger.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Philipp Weishaupt and Coby in full focus to deliver one of three German clear rounds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Tim Gredley's Guestlist took a dislike to the open water and was eliminated.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Picture perfect: Gerrit Nieberg is in Aachen to defend his 2022 Grand Prix title, and made it easily to the jump-off in the Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe with Blues d'Aveline.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs thanks Conner Jei after a clear round.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It did not go quite according to plan for all of the riders, here Jens Baackmann pulls out ahead of 11c in the triple combination.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ First to return to the jump-off of seven was Schmitz who put pressure on the rest with a great round in 42.43 seconds – using Gamin’s huge stride to his advantage. Getting a great angle to the penultimate upright and then doing eight strides to the last Turkish Airlines oxer, the clock stopped at 42.43 seconds and there was no time to waste for those to come...

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ ...but Mansur opted for similar solutions, and managed to be slightly quicker around the shortened course – shaving the time to beat down to 42.27 seconds.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ All the feels!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It definitely takes a village to succeed in this sport.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ It was disappointment for the Germans who all had poles down in the jump-off. Here Gerrit Nieberg leaves the ring.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Watching is most of the time more nerve wracking than being in the ring to perform.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Martin Fuchs powering through the finish line. The Swiss rider was unlucky as Conner Jei slipped in the turn to the oxer at no. three – losing time, and although they did a fabulous finish to their jump-off, the clock showed 42.78 seconds and the two slotted into third place behind Mansur and Schmitz.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Yuri Mansur and his wife Louisie share a special moment.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ A very happy team!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ United Touch S taking a look at the Brazilian celebrations.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Queen of the night.... Miss Blue-Saint Blue Farm.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Hugs for the winner!

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “To be honest, I felt quite calm,” Mansur said about the emotions that went through him when he took the lead in the Prize of Europe. “I was happy of course, but it was more a feeling of being at peace – and this is probably the best feeling you can have.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Congratulations Yuri!

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