The week before the European Championships, the Dutch served up a small reminder to the rest of the world that they are still the reigning champions astheGCT of the Netherlands continued today by keepingmost of the prizes at home.
The day began with the 16th renewal of the CN WorldwideDerby worth 6400Euro to the winner. The course includedtwo sorts of banks, water ditches, a devils dyke and the familiar white Derby rails. Rodrigo Pessoa was an early clear round but his time of 113.24 looked beatable and it soon was by Julien Epaillard on his grey horse Commissario, more often seen in Grand Prix classes. However Julien may well be deciding on a career change as the horse thundered round to stop the clock five seconds faster then Rodrigo. Michel Robert had a good crack but Kronos D'Ouilly could not turn quite as smoothly and was just over a second slower. The class was looking all over like a French one-two until to the crowds delight, last years second, Henk Van de Pol, entered on black Tennessee W, and showed everyone how a real Derby specialist could do it. Henk never had to take a pull and was a hefty 3.5 seconds faster with a time of 103.63 as they shot through the finish. The horse who was previously ridden by Henk's brother has been with them since a five year old and now nine, will be back next year to defend his crown.
Later on there was another GCT class with similar prize money up for grabsbut this was an ordinary 1.50m jump off class, if ever that height can be called ordinary! And there was nothing mundane about Uliano Vezzani's course either. 17 of the 41 starters had been before Lauren Hough and Quick Study managed to jump clean. A tricky combination caused all manner of problems including a fall for John Whitaker (Sultano) who stopped dead at the first part. Five othersswiftly joined Lauren in the jump off including Denis Lynch and Bernardo Alves.
Earlier Eric Lamaze had won the Young Horse Final on his seven year old Darco mare Coriana Van Klapsheut who is owned, like Take Off his winner of yesterday, by Artisan Farms. He beat a strong field of the best 25 young horses from this weekends proceedings, and kept two Dutch favourites, Leopold van Asten and EricVan der Vleuten off the winners rostrum. The Special Invitation classes had a prize for the best rider over the three days and that was won by Rio organiser Alvares de Miranda's younger brother Fernando. Having taken a break from riding for four years he returned to the saddle three years ago to help his brother with their horse import business that they run in partnership with Stal Tops. “Usually I stay more in Brazil but sometimes I get the opportunity to come over here to maybe show a horse for a client. It has been a huge thrill for me to ride in the main arena here in front of this crowd with the atmosphere and the beautiful show ground.” Just to complete a Dutch treat, Peter Geerink won the CSI2* Grand Prix on Lonesome Diams Hogue.
MAIF Gala Ball None of the riders in the days proceedings looked at all the worse for wear despite attending a lavish Gala Ball in aid of the Miracle Africa International Foundation. A Moroccan themed cuisine, live music and dancing was offered to the guests in a lavishly transformed indoor arena. Many of the riders including Gianni Govoni, Roger Yves Bost and Michel Robertwere seen dancing the night away with celebrity guests such as Athina Onasis, Charlotte Casiraghi and Princess Caroline of Hanover. Clearly the involvement of the MAIF was appreciated by all concerned. “Events like this are always a good idea, most of us involved in the GCT have a good life but perhaps we are not always aware of what goes on outside the horse world, and this makes us realise some of those things, in a memorable way, so we can be part of giving something back to the world” said Jan Tops. For detailed class results please go to www.globalchampionstour.com
ResultsCN Worldwide Derby 1.Henk Van de Pol (NED) Tennesse W, 0, 103.63 2.Julien Epaillard (FRA) Commisario , 0, 107.01 3.Michel Robert (FRA) Kronos D'Ouily,0, 108.22
GCT 1.50 Class 1.Jur Vreiling (NED) VDL Emmerton, 0,0, 36.25 2.Eric Van der Vleuten (NED) VDL Groep Tomboy, 0,0, 33.33 3.Lauren Hough (USA) Quick Study, 0,0, 37.38
Young Horse Final 1.Eric Lamaze (CAN) Coriana Van Klapsheut, 0,0,34.78 2.Leopold Van Asten (NED) VDL Greop W Zermie, 0,0, 35.16 3.Eric Van der Vleuten (NED) Wait and See, 0,0, 35.31
Quotes Eric Lamaze - “I only got her just before Calgary, and that show we were just getting to know each other, so I figured she would be more ready here. I think she has a big future. Certainly she gave me enough of a feel when I tried her that I suggest to Take Off's owners that they might want to invest in this one as well. As for yesterday, I could probably have let Hicksted go in there on his own and jump the jump off, I didnt quite get it right myself! Edwina rode such a great round it didn't lookthat fast, and in Rio I was right and I beat her, but this time she had us all fooled! At least I have qualified for the final though!”
John Whitaker-”the thing about the GCT shows is that they have made all the shows who want to be considered good shows, raise their game and that has to be a good thing.”
Henk Van de Pol - “I did not see Julien go but I knew he would be fast so I could not take any chances. This horse was second here last year and is very good against the clock so I thought I had a good chance.”
Jur Vreiling- Actually I am not usually that fast but to be honest I couldnt stop! The last fence was toward the gate and so I just had to kick for the stride I was on. I can tell you it wasn't my plan!”