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Gerfried Puck and Equitron Melody vd Smidshoeve top the CSI5*-W 1.50m presented by KBC Bank & Verzekering at Jumping Mechelen

Friday, 29 December 2023
CSI5*-W Jumping Mechelen 2023

Photo © Gerfried Puck and Equitron Melody vd Smidshoeve. Photo ©

Gerfried Puck (AUT) and Equitron Melody vd Smidshoeve (Epleaser van'T Heike x Thunder v. Zuuthoeve) won Thursday night's CSI5*-W 1.50m presented by KBC Bank & Verzekering at the 2023-edition of Jumping Mechelen.

A total of 16 horse-and-rider-combinations cleared the first-round track set by a team of course designers led by Bart Vonck and Eddy Geysemans, but when France's Julien Epaillard and Cancun Torel Z (Cosinhus x Grannus), as well as Kevin Staut and Vivante Grafinia PS (Vivant vd Heffinck x Balou du Rouet), opted to withdraw from the jump-off, it was left to be a battle between 14 pairs. 

With a time of 35.92 seconds, Puck took the win ahead of home hero Fredric Vernaet (BEL) and Okina van de Bien (Toulon x Blue Boy v. Berkenbroeck) in second as the clock stopped on 36.33 for the Belgian rider. Once again, the Belgians showed great form at their home event, with Jos Verlooy (BEL) and FTS Killossery Konfusion (SIEC Livello x Cruising) placing third, followed by Pieter Devos (BEL) aboard Casual DV Z (Cornet Obolensky x Cicero Z) in fourth – making it three home riders in the top five. Jessica Burke (IRL) and Nikey HH (Herald van'T Ruytershof x Upsilon vd Heffinck) took the fifth place. 

“I lived in the Netherlands for ten years," Puck said in a press release from Jumping Mechelen. "My brother still has a trading stable there. Meanwhile, I also work closely with Gert Vermeiren. He is the breeder of most of our horses. Together, we manage quite a large operation. Gert and his family run the breeding program. He rides the horses until they are six or seven years old. After that, I usually take them over for top-level sport. In Austria, me and my family have a stable with about 15 horses that compete internationally. In addition, around 30 horses are with Gert. It’s a big project. But at the moment, it’s actually the only way to get good horses under the saddle. And we are extremely happy with this collaboration.”

“We are fortunate with our horses, and we handle them with great care," Puck continued. "We give them a lot of time to grow as young horses. One notable achievement was breeding the champion of the BWP stallion inspection. Naxcel V (Balou du Rouet x Landetto) won that title in 2016 and is competing in the FEI Longines World Cup here this week. He also won a medal at the European Championships this year. The Olympics are on the horizon for him. He is a symbol of Belgian breeding.”


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