Global Champions Tour Arezzo Day 2
On day two the French started the winners ball rolling when Julien Epaillard won the 1.40 against the clock warm up class. The first person into the arena though was Britain's young Olympic rider, Ben Maher, who had also been placed in the equivalent class yesterday but he seemed to be making no particular effort today on his nine year old Quanton Quirifino Z. The horse who is owned, like Ben's top horse Robin Hood W, by Quainton Stud, looked very relaxed in his round but the time of 65.48 was good enough to remain in front for over half the class. But Julien managed to come slightly tighter into the second last on his Cash stallion Commissario, and galloped through the finish in 64.84 to win the Euro 6666 first prize. Piergiorgio Bucci ( De Zara Contact BZ) then also got inside Ben's time to sneak second place and keep the locals happy.
The class was not without a little drama when Robert Whitaker had a fall from Finbarr V when the horse slipped on a turn after a miscommunication about the direction to go but luckily both horse and rider were unhurt.
Course designer Uliano Vezzani might have under-estimated the quality of the competitors in the second contest as 19 of the 42 starters were clear in the first round. The course had contained three up to height (1.50) doubles and a water jump so should have posed more of a problem but the riders obviously had their mounts well tuned in up today. In the jump off, second to go Jos Lansink set a 37.58 standard on spender that did enough to ensure a few people made silly mistakes while being beatable by the brave. It was, however the last six to jump that really set the arena alight. Well known for his flying jump off skills, Gianni Govoni, rode like a man inspired and did not take a single pull on Joyau d'Opal in a fashion that would have looked more at home in tomorrow's Grand National. Then it was left to the remaining five to catch him. Australia's Edwina Alexander pushed Isolav Socrates to the limit but still could not quite succeed, stopping the clock in 35.25. It was left to Dutchman Henk van der Pol, the very last to go, to rob Italy of a famous home win. His !5 year old chestnut gelding Rhodes responded to every call made of him, took an absolute flyer at the last but their bravery paid off when the clock stopped at 34.36 and the Euro8250 prize was theirs.
"I knew I had to take a stride out going to the water which we managed so then I knew I was OK to take a slight pull to the double and it all worked" commented a relieved Henk afterwards.
Rolf-Goran Bengtsson had four faults in this class on Quintero de Silla.
The last day of the show is tomorrow with the Euro 95'000 winner''s purse in the Grand Prix. For more details including the TV and internet broadcast schedule, please visit www.globalchampionstour.com.
© Cyberhorse 2009 Lulu Kyriacou