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Sport Vlaanderen Grand Prix to Koen Vereecke

Sunday, 30 December 2018
CSI5*-W Jumping Mechelen 2018

Photo (c) Jumping Mechelen. Koen Vereecke with Jativia. Photo (c) Jumping Mechelen.

The 61 800 Euro Grand Prix presented by Sport Vlaanderen was Saturday’s highlight at CSI5* Jumping Mechelen in Belgium. 41 horse-and-rider combinations lined up for the challenge set by the Belgian course designer Eddy Geysemans. A total of 14 pairs cleared their way over the 1.50m track into the jump-off, that turned out to be a real treat for the enthusiastic audience that had every last seat filled in the traditional Nekkerhal.

As a starter number three, Guy Williams (GBR) on the 13-year-old stallion Rouge de Revel (Ultimo van Ter Moude x Quouglof Rouge) was the first to clear the track in the first round. Stephanie Holmén (SWE) on the 12-year-old mare Flip’s Little Sparrow (Cardento x Robin Z), Pius Schwizer (SUI) on the 9-year-old mare About A Dream (Clinton x Indoctro) and the young, local talent Gilles Thomas (BEL) on the 9-year-old stallion Ducati van Schuttershof (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Tenor) soon followed – much to the joy of the Belgian crowds.

Jérome Guery (BEL) on the 12-year-old stallion Garfield de Tiji des Templiers (Quasimodo Z x Goldspring de Lauzelle), Koen Vereecke (BEL) on the 9-year-old mare Jativia (Cardento x Gottwald) and Pieter Devos (BEL) on the 13-year-old gelding Apart (Larino x Burggraaf) showed that the hosts meant business, all setting clear rounds and joining the jump-off.

The Masters winning duo of Niels Bruynseels (BEL) and the 9-year-old gelding Delux van T&L (Toulon x Landetto) had the whole Nekkerhal sighing of disappointment with them, when the last fence of the course fell, leaving them out of the jump-off.

Gregory Wathelet (BEL) on the 9-year-old gelding Spike Vd. Withoeve (Sting Vd Withoeve), Daniel Deusser and the 9-year-old mare Jasmien Vd Bisschop (Larino x Chin Chin), Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) on the 9-year-old stallion H&M Extra (Berlin x Heartbreaker), Christian Kukuk (GER) on the 11-year-old stallion Limonchello NT (Lord Caletto x Calido I) and the winning pair from Friday’s feature class, Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) on the only 8-year-old mare Evita van’t Zoggehof (Figo de Muze x Rubens Di Ri D’Asse) as well as Denis Lynch (IRL) and the 10-year-old gelding Sinner (Sanvaro x Landgold 3), all made light work of the 1.50m course, riding picture perfect, clear rounds.

The last combination of the challenging first round - where especially the triple combination at fence eleven caused a lot of headache -  Frederic Vernaet (BEL) on the 9-year-old stallion Dieu Merci van T&L (Toulon x Corrado I), had the audience cheering for a seemingly faultless round, but a single time fault kept them away from the jump-off, leaving the battle for victory to be between 14 pairs.

First to go in the jump-off, Guy Williams and Rouge de Ravel had a pole down in a time of 34,95 seconds. Stephanie Holmén and Flip’s Little Sparrow followed, left all the fences intact and set the time to beat to 34.97 seconds. Pius Schwizer and About A Dream took a daring galop to the last fence and shaved a second off the leading time, setting a new standard of 33.85 seconds.

Jérome Guery and Garfield de Tiji des Templiers had two fences down in a time of 33.38 seconds – showing that Schwizer’s time was still to beat. And Koen Vereecke and Jativia did just that – with all of Nekkerhal cheering the pair on, they gave it their best shot and took over the lead with a time of 33.25 seconds.

Jos Verlooy and Caracas were hot on their heels and had the audience screaming – of disappoinment, when the penultimate vertical fell to the ground.

Daniel Deusser and the 9-year-old mare Jasmien Vd Bisschop (Larino x Chin Chin) slotted into second place with a time of 33.63 seconds, pushing Schwizer to third and Holmén to fourth place.

The crowds could hardly contain their excitement, when Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Extra entered the ring – as it was clear there would be a home win in this years’ Grand Prix. A clear round in 35.64 seconds left Philippaerst in fifth place in the end.

A fairly unknown name on five-star level, Koen Vereecke was a happy man after his win and praised his horse: ”She has won four three-star Grand Prix classes this year,” he said about his horse Jativia. ”And in Liege in her first four star Grand Prix she was seventh, then in Rouen in a four star Grand Prix she had one down with the fastest time - and we were fifth,” he kept listing the amazing record of the only 9-year-old mare. ”I bought her the year she became seven. She had been jumping 1.10m by then. When I tried her, the first time I jumped her, I was in love. I said then, that this one is a real Grand Prix horse.”

 ”This is my best year ever – I have good horses, they have jumped well and I have won a lot this year. This is like the cherry on the cake for this year,” he continued. Even though there were many clear rounds, there were also some bigger fault scores and many of them were collected on the triple combination. Talking about the course, Vereecke said: ”When I was looking at it, I thought the triple combination was too small,” he analysed. ”Because the course was not big, big and I think the time was maybe a bit too long. For me, I think there was 4-5 too many in the jump-off. But at the end, for me it was good.” he smiled.

Earlier during the day Italy's Lorenzo De Luca continued his winning form by topping the 1.45m class presented by Samsung. Riding the 10-year-old mare Cheindira (Chagall van de Burggrave x Darco), De Luca clocked the winning time of 58.19 seconds. Dominique Hendrickx (BEL) on the 11-year-old stallion Bacardi Les Hauts (Rexar du Houssoit x Cavalier) took the runner-up position with a time of 59.04 seconds, while Gudrun Patteet (BEL) on the 9-year-old gelding Sea Coast Exellentie (Berlin x Lord Z) placed third with the time of 59.88 seconds. The fourth place went to Jérome Guery (BEL) on the 9-year-old gelding Kel'Star du Vingt Ponts (Kannan x Landor S) with a time of 60.93 seconds and the fifth place to Gilles Thomas (BEL), who riding the 8-year-old gelding Konak (Nabab de Reve x Cash), clocked the time of 61.69 seconds. 


Text © World of Showjumping

Picture © Jumping Mechelen 

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