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Niels Bruynseels continues top form to take the CSI5* Grand Prix of Helsinki

Saturday, 22 October 2016
CSI5*-W Helsinki International Horse Show 2016

The winners: Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze won the Grand Prix of Helsinki. Photo (c) Satu Pirinen. The winners: Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze won the Grand Prix of Helsinki. Photo (c) Satu Pirinen.

The CSI5* Grand Prix of Helsinki saw Belgium's Niels Bruynseels continue his top form, going to the top aboard Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reve x Nimmerdor). The competition had 42 top combinations lined up to compete over the track designed by Brazil's Guilherme Jorge. The course consisted of 13 fences and 16 efforts, with an oxer-vertical combination at seven and a vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination as ten, followed by a tight right hand turn to the fence at eleven, a delicate vertical.

The class got off to a good start with Spanish rider Eduardo Alvarez Aznar on Seringat (Chef Rouge x Guillaume Tell) riding a beautiful clear round. Great Britain's Scott Brash on Hello Guv’Nor (Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge Normandie) and Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten on Salomon (Stolzenberg x Aramis) followed his lead soon after, and also went clear. The track proved to have some tricky questions in it, as many riders gathered a lot of faults. Most problems came at the blue oxer on number six as well as the last fence, a wide red oxer also causing headache for many. The triple combination with two verticals as a and b and a wide oxer as the c-element also caused a lot of faults.

Dutch rider Leopold van Asten looked to ride a picture perfect round, but had a very unfortunate fault on the last fence - just like Sweden's Henrik von Eckermann. The Finnish young talent Emma Tallberg did her five-star Grand Prix debut on Dolce Vita Crosby (Canturo x Lagos) and rode a brilliant round with only one fence down. The home crowds were about to blow off the roof on the Helsinki Jäähalli when rider number 34, the German based Finnish rider Niclas Aromaa, went clear on Chairman 20 (Casall x Lacapo). In the end, eleven riders went clear and even if the course builder Guilherme Jorge had earlier revealed that his favorite number of riders for any jump-off would be eight, he was content with the result: "I am very happy, the question at the triple combination worked out well,“ he said.

Eduardo Alvarez Aznar went first out in the jump-off, but had an unfortunate one down. Scott Brash put the pressure on the rest of the field with a very fast round, turning Hello Guv’Nor quick enough to stop the clock at 37.00 seconds. Maikel van der Vleuten rode a safe clear round as did Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum on Jackie Brown (Lord Pezi x Grandeur).

Niels Bruynseels on Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reve x Nimmerdor) went all in, and all the risks were worth taking; he took over the lead from Brash with a time of 36.73 seconds. Germany's Philipp Weishaupt on Carvagio Z (Caritano Z x Balougran Z) tried his best but had to settle for the third place with the time of 37.03. Italy's Lorenzo de Luca on Halifax van het Kluizebos (Heartbreaker x Fetiche du Pas) rode a very determined round, but had to settle for fourth place with the clock stopping at 37.70 seconds.

"My horse has been in very good form at the last shows and of course I am very happy to win today. The jump-off was very fast so I had to take a lot of risks and I am happy it all worked out. My team mate Pieter Devos told me after seeing Scott (Brash) go, that if I wanted to beat him I should not wait." 

Second placed Scott was happy with his placing: "I think my round went very well, I am happy with my horse, he jumped fantastic. I don’t really know where I could have gone faster, maybe from two to three. Niels did an amazing job!"

The best Finnish rider Niclas Aromaa placed 11th with one down in the jump-off, and he said he had a good feeling already after walking the course. "With these riders I knew I had no option than to try and go clear in the jump-off, and see how far it would take me. I am really happy with my horse even if we had one down in the end."

Both Brash and Bruynseels complimented the course builder Jorge. "I think the the track was fair, it was delicate. I think getting 11 clears out of this field was a spot-on job,“ the second placed Brash said.

Earlier in the day, the accumulator with a joker presented by Finntoto saw the Norwegian Gulliksen-family on top. Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen on Chaloubet (Balou Du Rouet x Chapman) won with 65 points, and the time of 47.90 seconds while his father Geir Gulliksen riding Arakorn (Cantos x Damiro) finished as runner-up with 65 points in 50.97 seconds. Third place went to French rider Julien Epaillard riding Sephora Sonzeenne (Kannan x Ticket Chic) with 65 points in 62.17 seconds. 


Text Nanna Nieminen for © World of Showjumping // Picture © Satu Pirinen

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