Gregory Wathelet takes the lead on day one of the Belgian Championships

The FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses starts on Thursday in Zangersheide, and on Wednesday the first round of the Belgian Championship was completed. This first showdown was convincingly won by Gregory Wathelet with Faut-Il des 7 Vallons (Comme Il Faut x Double Espoir).

Gregory Wathelet, team bronze medalist from the Tokyo Olympics, was Belgian champion once before, in 2013. Also then, he won the first round of the championship. "I am super happy of course,” Wathelet said after Wednesday’s first qualifier. “My horse jumped very well. I didn't want to go too fast, sometimes that can make him a little stressed, but without going too wild we are now nicely on top. It's only day one, so a lot can happen, but it's always better to start from the top than from the bottom of the rankings.”

Wathelet arrived to Lanaken fresh from his third place finish in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen last weekend. Competing in Lanaken is always special for him: "I think it's important for the level of the sport in this championship that the top Belgian riders participate,” Wathelet explained. “That's not always easy because there are many important competitions this year and around this time, but I make it a priority to make time for it.”

In the 1.50m speed and handiness class, Wathelet was a whopping three seconds faster than Leonie Peeters with Tinkoucha Hero Z (Tinka's Boy x Diamant de Semilly). Peeters placed second after a a very strong start in her second Belgian championship. Jos Verlooy with Varoune (Verdi x Cardalme), who earned the title in the past two championships, wants to make it a hat trick: Verlooy knew he had to finish in the top 10 for that and finished sixth this afternoon.

Gilles Thomas and Konak (Nabab de Reve x Cash) and Dieter Vermeiren on Kingston Town 111 Z (Kashmir vh Schuttershofx Chellano Z) finished faster than Verlooy and are in respective fourth and fifth place.

Click here for all the results.


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