The Autumn MET 2017 resumed this week in Oliva Nova, Spain, for its second part of the Tour and concluded the first week of competition with the 30.000 Euro Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort.
The 1.45m track set by course designer Javier Trenor (ESP) counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts in a time allowed of 87 seconds. Starting off with an oxer, followed by a triple combination at fence number five and finishing with a vertical with a water tray under as the final fence the track proved tricky enough as only four pairs out of the 71 on the start list cleared the first round and joined the jump-off.
Jamie Wingrove (GBR) on the 11-year-old gelding Bart VI (Lord Z x Levantos) was the first to go in the jump-off, and took a brave gallop around the shortened, seven-fence track. Stopping the clock at 38,26 seconds and leaving all the fences intact, the British rider set the standard for those to follow.
Michael Duffy (IRL) on the 11-year-old stallion EFS Top Contender (Lauriston x Continue) and Maria Bibikova (RUS) on the 12-year-old gelding Quasimodo (Quidam's Rubin x Corofino I) set out to chase the leading time, paying the price as a pole went down on fence number three for both of them. Last to go in the jump-off of four was Marcel Wegfahrt (GER) on the only 7-year-old stallion Carnan (Cartogran x Kannan). Riding a safe clear round in a time of 48,60 seconds on his young horse, Wegrahrt took the runner-up position right behind Wingrove, pushing Duffy to third and Bibikova to fourth place.
Kim Kristensen (DEN) on the 8-year-old gelding Albert K (Heartbeat x Quidam de Revel) was the fastest four-faulter from the first round, placing fifth with his time of 84,16 seconds.
“I think the course today walked fine,” Wingrove commented after the class. “I thought it did not seem that difficult, but it turned out to ride a lot more difficult than it looked like.”
“Ideally it would be nice to have a few more pairs in the jump-off, but it all worked well for me today,” he continued. “The jump-off track suited me and my horse. After jumping him earlier during the week, I changed a few things before the round today and those changes turned out right. He can be a little bit challenging to ride. I have had him just short of a year. He is a naturally fast horse, and I thought that if I just keep moving and keep the fences up, I have a shot at the win,” Wingrove explained about his strategy for the jump-off.
Wingrove is a familiar face in Oliva Nova. “It is my fourth or fifth time here in Oliva Nova. I choose to come because the ground here is good, there is a nice laid-back feeling and the people are nice!”
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Photo credit: Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.