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Simon Delestre and Iniesta V best in the BMW Masters at Jumping Mechelen 2022

Wednesday, 28 December 2022
CSI5*-W Jumping Mechelen 2022

Photo © Nanna Nieminen/WoSJ.
"Iniesta has really been growing in the right direction in the past few months, and my feeling on him is amazing," Simon Delestre said after winning the BMW Masters at Jumping Mechelen 2022 with the talented 9-year-old Iniesta V. Photo © Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

The 2022-edition of the traditional Jumping Mechelen has gathered some of the world's best horses and riders in the Nekkerhal in Belgium, where the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League makes its 9th stop of the 2022/2023-season. 

On Tuesday night, the action got underway with the first CSI5*-W classes, where France's Simon Delestre – a former world number one – and the 9-year-old Iniesta V (Zambesi TN x No Limit) took an impressive win in the BMW 1.60m Masters, open to the five highest ranked Belgian riders and the five highest ranked foreign riders. As the fences got higher for each round, a fault meant the end of the night, and finally five horse-and-rider-combinations cleared their way into the last deciding round against the clock. 

Belgium's very own Wilm Vermeir and Joyride S (Toulon x Pachat II) were the first out against the clock, but with two fences down, left the door wide open for those to come. Daniel Deusser (GER) and Kiana van het Herdershof (Toulon x Lys de Darmen) jumped a fast clear, and with the course not allowing many options, their time of 29.22 seemed like a tough challenge. However, Harrie Smolders (NED) and Bingo du Parc (Mylord Carthago HN x Diamant de Semilly) perfected all the turns and crossing the finish line in 29.04 they took over the lead and pushed Deusser into runner-up position. With Bryan Balsiger (SUI) and Chelsea Z (Chellano Alpha Z x Cicero Z) posting a steady clear, slotting into third behind Deusser, there was only one man standing in the way of Smolder and Bingo's win – Simon Delestre. Using Iniesta's massive canter, the former world number one made the seemingly impossible possible, stopping the clock on 28.55 and pushing Smolders to second, Deusser to third, Balsiger to fourth and Vermeir to fifth. 

Photo © Nanna Nieminen/WoSJ.
Harrie Smolders and Bingo du Parc had to settle for the runner-up position in front of a fully packed Nekkerhal. Photo © Nanna Nieminen/WoSJ.

"After Daniel, I thought the class was already finished – and when I saw Harrie, I knew I had to give it everything if I wanted to win tonight," Delestre said after his victory. "In a class like the Masters, it is about winning or nothing. Iniesta has really been growing in the right direction in the past few months, and my feeling on him is amazing. I really wanted to jump this class with him, to take it step by step; starting with a normal round and ending with a very competitive, tough round – this gave him a good opportunity to get a feel of big fences in this arena. I think this class was good for him, and now I am not sure if he will jump anymore this weekend. I might jump him in the small Grand Prix, but for sure his job for the weekend is done now. He did a fantastic job today!"

"He is fast, and from one to two, when I just let him, he directly went for the turn," Delestre said about the small margins that gave him the win. "I think we saved time in the turns, and for sure his massive canter helped –however, Harrie's horse has a massive canter as well!"

"I have always had high hopes for Iniesta," Delestre continued. "We bought him as a six-year-old and have expected him to grow into a real crack. He is so careful, and has needed more time than the others, but the feeling has always been amazing. I knew that if I just take my time with him, one day he will be good – and now he is nine, and he is already here. When he was seven and eight, I did only nice rounds with him, just playing around." 

Photo © Nanna Nieminen/WoSJ.
Tuesday's CSI5*-W 1.45m Léon Melchior Open Sires of the World at Jumping Mechelen 2022 went to Italy's Emanuele Gaudiano and the 10-year-old Crack Balou. Photo © Nanna Nieminen/WoSJ.

The first five-star class of the week, the CSI5*-W 1.45m Léon Melchior Open Sires of the World went to Italy's Emanuele Gaudiano and the 10-year-old Crack Balou (Balou du Reventon x Chacco-Blue). Stopping the clock on 37.58 in a jump-off of ten horse-and-rider-combinations, the Italian rider took the win ahead of Harrie Smolders (NED) and the 10-year-old Uricas v.d. Kattevennen (Uriko x San Patrignano Cassini) in the runner-up position. Kevin Jochems (NED) and Casillas van de Helle (Casall x San Patrignano Corrado) took the third spot, while Christian Ahlmann (GER) and Clintrexo Z (Clintissimo Z x Rex Z) finished fourth and Gilles Thomas (BEL) aboard Ermitage Kalone (Catoki x Kannan) fifth.

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