The second day started with that rarest of things in the Principality, a torrential downpour accompanied with thunder and lightning, nicely amplified by the encircling mountains. The heavens opened just as John Whitaker was about to open proceedings on Casino in a 1.45 jump off class but luckily only lasted 15 minutes or so. However he did well to only have a fence down and it took another ten riders before Julian Epaillard and grey stallion Commissario managed to leave all of them up. Immediately followed and matched by Ludger Beerbaum on another stallion, this one the dark bay Lavillon. In the end seven made it through to the jump off, including last nights winner Gianni Govoni.
But on this occasion Love affair made one of her rare mistakes at the first fence over the shortened course which put paid to their chances but another mare, this time Wizzy partnered by Bernardo Alves, lived up to her name and set a blistering time of 33.27. but with 6400 Euro to the winner the others would certainly try to catch her. Henk Van de Pol was also clear and fast but not quite fast enough finishing on 34.66 with only one more left to jump. Britain's Ben Maher has had a few issues with his relatively new ride Wonderboy, who is easily spooked in big arena's but he showed no sign of nerves today. A much bigger horse to turn than the eventual winner, it shows a measure of his riders skill as well as his own ability that he only failed by half a second to catch the Brazilian pair. Richard Spooner was the only other person to jump clean twice to claim 4th with Pako.
In the second event of the day eleven of the 35 starters made it through to the jump off over a course appeared to jump somewhat easier than in the previous classes, doubtless Frank Rothenburger thinking of tomorrows Grand Prix. These eleven were led in by Gerco Schroder on Eurocommerce New Orleans and an exciting jump off began although somewhat unfortunately for Gerco who had the third and the fifth down. Mention should be made of Saudia Arabia's Prince Abdullah Metab al Saud, who jumped a beautiful first round clear, which justified his wild card inclusion and demonstrated how much interest in the sport is growing in the middle east. He only had one down in the jump off as well. Rodrigo Pessoa and Lets Fly, Grand Prix winners in Rome and Charlotte recently, made the sort of effort one would expect from this champion rider and finished clear in 34.72. That had looked very good but Harry Smolders is never one for hanging about and after a couple of near misses at recent GCT events clearly had something to prove. Exquis Powerfee, an almost black stallion, never lost his balance for a moment as his rider expertly cut corner, which was done so well they took two whole seconds off Rodrigo's time. Marco Kutscher back on the Tour after dislocating his shoulder in Hamburg showed little sign injury but Cornet Obolensky was never going to move as fast and his time of 35.33 was only good enough for 4th. It was another Dutchman Peter Geerink who almost robbed his countryman of the 8000Euro first prize. Scotch is another consistent GCT horse placed already here and last week in Cannes and he moves deceptively quickly for a big horse. Harry had to endure a few stressful moments at the collecting ring monitor before it was confirmed the he had won and the challenger had in fact only just got in front of Rodrigo with a time of 34.58.
“Winning is always fantastic but I like this show, the atmosphere really helps to motivate you” said a relieved Harry before collecting his prize. Peter Geerink was pleased by the improvement in the show since his last visit. “I came ten years ago and I did win a class or two but then it was in a tent and a very tiny space. To say this is an improvement would be an understatement. It is all very well done.”
1 Bernardo Alves BRA, Wizzy 0,0 33.27
2.Ben Maher GB, Wonderboy, 0,0, 33.86
3.Henk Van De Pol NED, Dan 7-T 0,0, 34.66
4.Richard Spooner USA, Pako, 0,0, 35.16
1. Harry Smolders NED, Exquis Powerfee, 0,0, 32.72
2. Peter Geerink NED, Scotch, 0,0, 34.58
3. Rodrigo Pessoa BRA, Lets Fly, 0,0, 34.72
4. Marco Kutscher GER, Cornet Obolensky 0,0, 35.33.
Jessica Kurten- “I hope you are getting plenty of pictures, no one will ever believe this (the weather) otherwise!”
Bernardo Alves- “It is just as good for me winning this class as the Grand Prix in Hamburg because this is a younger horse, it is her first win at this level, so I am very happy.”
Ben Maher “We have had our moments with Wonderboy getting a little worried on the big occcasion but today he was brave and fearless.”
Richard Spooner “To be honest I could not be happier. He did not got so well in Cannes but we had jumped three weeks in a row including doing a puissance in Rome where he jumped 2.15meters so perhaps he was a bit tired so he hhad a week off and has come here and been clear in both classes we have jumped so far.”
Prince Abdullah Metab Al Saud- “This kind of show gives us in the Middle East spirit and focus to achieve. And the atmosphere here helps as well. It is a good place where if you have good horses and a good team behind you it is possible to do well.”
Bernardo Alves from Brazil and Wizzy
Harry Smolders and Exquis Powerfee
Photo by Lulu Kyriacou
Harry Smolders at the prizegiving
Photo by www.sportfot.com
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© Cyberhorse 2009 Lulu Kyriacou