Harold Boisset (FRA) has been an unstoppable force at the Autumn MET 2016, and continued his winning ways in Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Suzuki. Again it was the tiny Quolita Z, a 10-year-old mare by Quasimodo Z x Ramiro, that contributed to the win after a lightning fast jump-off that nobody was close to matching.
The setting could not have been better for today’s Grand Prix. Warm and sunny autumn weather brought out a large crowd that watched the 1.45m competition unfold in the big grass ring, perfectly prepared for the concluding class of week two at the Autumn MET.
With fifteen out of the 79 competitors qualified for the jump-off, the spectators were in for a treat. The shortened track set up by Italian course designer Elio Travagliati would prove perfect to entertain the crowds, who cheered and whistled on the riders as they tried to catch each other. The design of the jump-off track invited to some very tight turns to begin with, and finally a long last stretch made to go flat out from the penultimate vertical to the last oxer.
As ninth to go, Boisset blew the competition away with an incredibly fast round stopping the clock on 33.09 seconds. ”I think I got a very good turn from the first jump to the second,” Boisset said afterwards. "I also got a good jump into the combination mid-way, and although I decided to back her a bit up at the end of the stretch to the last oxer this was the same for everybody. It seemed like none of us could find the perfect distance to that final fence, and all the riders made their horses come back a little there.”
The confidence was certainly there today for Boisset, who came into Sunday’s competition with a CSI2* Grand Prix victory from week one – as well as several other wins that have been collected during his two weeks in Oliva. “In the jump-off I was number nine to go out of the fifteen qualified, so I just decided to go for it,” Boisset detailed. “I am leaving Oliva tonight, and Quolita is either way going to get a rest after this so there was nothing to save up for. I also know she is totally able to win a class like this, so I wanted to try.”
“My mare is super on grass, and I also love to ride in these kind of rings. She is quite identical on grass and sand, so I don’t have to make any adjustments,” the winner continued.
It was mission accomplished for the 28-year-old rider, who now heads home from Spain with his horses. “Quolita Z did a few five-star shows during the summer, and I took her to the Autumn MET to bring her a bit back down and let her breathe a little. I am leaving Oliva tonight, and Quolita will now get a rest before I take her to CSI3* Vermezzo and then I will make a plan from there,” Boisset commented.
Boisset’s departure might open the doors for other riders, such as Constant Van Paesschen (BEL) who really impressed today with his second place on the only 8-year-old Astro Boy – a gelding by Sarantos x Guidam. “Harold is very difficult to catch when he is clear,” said Constant who really gave it a try but had to see himself a full second behind the winner. “My horse is only eight, and I am really delighted with the way he jumped. He is very fast on the ground – but he still needs to learn to turn shorter.”
Van Paesschen has a very good string of horses coming up, and is excited to have several of his more inexperienced ones competing and developing at the Autumn MET. “At the moment I have a very nice string of young horses from 5-years and upwards to 10. They are all great horses; but are either quite green or young – still they are all really interesting for my future. I am lucky that I have owners that also like the sport, and are not pushing too much to sell them. I also have a great team behind me, from riders to grooms – that helps a lot,” smiled the young talented Belgian rider who feels more than at home in Oliva. “We are here a lot, my parents bought a very nice house here last year. For me, this is the best place to be. You can jump a ranking class with an 8-year-old, and they are not in the red and they don’t get scared. That is something fantastic I think. There is lots space here, and we have the beach as well – which I think is one of the nicest things about the show here.”
The Italians were strong in force in the Grand Prix, taking a like to their compatriot’s course design – claiming third as well as fourth place courtesy of Filippo Tabarini and Riccardo Pisani. Chloe Winchester (GBR) rounded off the top five in Sunday’s Grand Prix. Full results can be found here.
Photo credit: Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.