In the 1.50m Sires of the World Grand Prix timing has never been so important. The official timekeeper of the event, Longines, recorded history in the making and an unprecedented time difference between the top three riders. In the jump-off these three riders made everyone in the crowd hold their breath and shout out loud after they crossed the finish line.
Fourteen of the fifty horse-and-rider combinations got to return in the Ratina Z arena for the jump-off. The efforts in the jump-off were all of top-level with the speed and competitiveness rising towards the end.
‘He is a player’
Koen Vereecke and Kasanova de la Pomme shot out of the starting blocks as the fourth last combination to go. The Belgian rider is known for his winner-instinct and set out to battle with his eleven-year-old BWP-stallion by Bamako de Muze. “His name Kasanova suits him well. He is a bit of a player. I had my hands full in the first round with him bucking towards the water jump. But his manners are also what make him a very special and talented horse. I was not sure if our efforts were good enough for the win. I thought that if Christian would leave one stride out to the final fence he could win. But luckily, he did not leave a stride out”, the winner says with a wink to the runner-up.
‘Formula 1-like finish’
The second last rider to go had the pressure of winning on home soil on his shoulders. Christian Ahlmann and Z-stallion Dominator 2000 Z (by Diamant de Semilly) jumped an equally impressive round and going towards the last fence it looked like the win would stay in Zangersheide. But just 0,01 seconds kept the German rider and his eleven-year-old stallion from the top position. “After a small break Dominator feels back on track again. Both in the first course and the jump-off he did exactly what I asked of him, and we did really try to win. I like to win, not just at home but anywhere. But our efforts today were just good enough for second place. I must be honest I’ve never seen a finish this close together before. It is a bit like Formula-1”, the runner up says with a smile.
‘Definitely a breeding stallion’
The final rider who could make a difference was Gilles Thomas. The young Belgian rider had not one but two stallions in the jump-off. He scored the best time with Feromas van Beek Z. The nine-year old son of Fantomas de Muze finished with 0,02 more on the timer. This result will put his stallion in the spotlight, something Thomas was aiming for. “I had quite a few people come up to me and ask if he is available for breeding. I wanted to get the word out there. So, I thought if I compete with him here and we do well, I will not have to keep telling people he is a breeding stallion”, the number three of the class laughs.