Fantastic finish to Autumn MET I as Will and Van Paesschen tie for the win in the CSI3* Grand Prix presented by CHG
It was a spectacular finish to the Autumn MET I 2019, as David Will (GER) and Constant Van Paesschen (BEL) tied for the win in Sunday’s CSI3* Grand Prix presented by CHG – Construcciones Hispano Germanas S.A.
The crowds were entertained with top sport as the two riders galloped to the exact same time in a lightning fast jump-off, where even Julien Epaillard (FRA) – the Master of Faster – had to see himself beaten to finish third.
It was a tough course waiting for the 58 riders that had qualified in for the 1.50m Grand Prix counting for the world ranking. “I thought it was very big,” Will commented on the track built by Javier Trenor (ESP). “Everything came really fast, there was nowhere to breathe really – it all followed directly after each other.” Van Paesschen agreed with Will on the challenging course: “When I walked it, I thought it was big and I said we would have less than ten clears. It was a long course also, fourteen fences – the triple combination, the combination, the water with a high pole on top and a lot of difficult lines in between.”
Eventually, seven riders managed to deliver clear rounds to move on to the jump-off. “It was only six fences, so quite short in numbers but it was a lot to canter around the whole arena,” Will said about the shortened course. “Still, coming into the double you had to really sit up once so it was not only going – it was a nice mix.”
As fifth to go in the jump-off, Will followed Cameron Hanley (IRL) who had just snatched the lead after a beautiful round on Loukas de La Noue (Malito de Reve x Mr. Blue) in 36.54 seconds. However, the lead was short-lived as Will left the breaks at the in-gate and put Forest Gump 29 (Forsyth x Feuerwerk) into top gear racing around the arena to the incredible time of 33.03 seconds.
“I knew with Julien and Constant behind me, that there was no too fast for them – so I just tried to be as quick as I could,” Will said.
Will and Van Paesschen both managed to finish the jump-off course in 33.03 seconds.
Followed by Epaillard, Will had to bite his nails while watching from the warm-up but when even the French speed-machine had to settle in 0.03 seconds behind the chances of a German win were increasing. “Actually, I thought Julien was faster than me, but then he was just a tiny bit slower,” Will said.
With Constant Van Paeschen and Vendetta Treize (Diamant de Semilly x Eiger I) entering the ring as last to go, Will was anxiously watching – would it be enough for the victory? With the crowds cheering him on, Van Paeschen made a daring run to the final upright – crossing the finish line in the exact same time as Will.
“I warmed up in the ring that is a bit further away from the arena, as I usually do, so I was not busy with what was going on,” Van Paesschen explained. “I asked my dad to watch a bit for me though. As I came down to the arena, I saw Julien going to the last upright. I thought that he was so quick, so when he was slower than David I realized that they were going proper fast. My dad advised me to go for a third place, but I saw a long distance to the first jump and thought to myself ‘Let’s keep going like this!’ Then the crowd also helped to the last, and I just prayed to make it and that the pole would stay in the cups!” the Belgian rider smiled.
Both riders were delighted with their performances and their horses. “I can very well settle for a split win with Constant here today!” Will smiled. “Forest Gump is such a clever horse,” Will said. “He is unbelievably fast, and wins a lot of classes. He is a small horse, but with a huge heart!” Van Paesschen was also full of praise for Vendetta Treize, saying: “I’m delighted with my horse, it’s the first time I ride him in a three-star Grand Prix. He has been showing on the Global Tour-circuit and done a lot of good things, but it’s always special to win a Grand Prix!”
The Autumn MET will now be taking a one-week break, and resume with the second part of the Tour that runs from 29th of October to 17th of November 2019.
More information, start and result lists, as well as live streaming from the competitions, can be found on metoliva.com.
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
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