The second week of Spring MET II 2018 in Oliva Nova, Spain, concluded on Sunday with the 30,000 Euro Grand Prix presented by Construcciones Hispano Germanas (CHG). And, for the third time at Spring MET 2018 it was Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Mr. President (Comme d’Api VD Hacienda x breeding unknown) that took the top honours, against a world-class field of riders.
Counting for the Longines Ranking, the 1.45m class build by course designer Gérard Lachat (SUI) counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts with a time-allowed of 80 seconds in the first round. A total of 74 horse-and-rider-combinations lined up for the challenge, and 19 of them cleared their way into the jump-off over a shortened seven-fence track.
The sun came out just in time for the exciting jump-off. The ever so quick Julien Epaillard (FRA) on the 10-year-old gelding Instit de Jucaso (Cooper van de Heffinck x Darco) set the standard, clocking a time of 35,56 seconds. For a while it seemed like the French rider would take his second Grand Prix victory in a row, but then came Scott Brash on the 9-year-old gelding Hello Mr. President – the winners of the two Grand Prix classes of Spring MET I. Attacking the track with an explosive speed, Brash took over the lead after stopping the clocks on 35,48 and pushed Epaillard into runner-up position. Bassem Mohammed (QAT) and the 12-year-old gelding Argelith Squid (Salito x Gibraltar) gave it a good try as last to go, rushed over the finish line in 36,73 seconds – a time that put them in third place.
Pius Schwizer (SUI) on the 10-year-old mare Chidame Z (Chippendale Z x Quidam de Revel) took the fourth place with a time of 37,47 seconds, while the fifth spot went to Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) on the 10-year-old mare Isabeau de Laubry (Cardento I x Chin Chin) after the new pair clocked a time of 37,52 in the jump-off.
“It was good, and technical enough,” runner-up Epaillard said about the track afterwards. “I am very happy, this is the game – sometimes you lose, sometimes you win,” he continued. “Scott had a nice jump-off, and my horse jumped great. He has had a break since Mechelen and started again here last week. This is his first Grand Prix back, I am happy.”
“He is amazing,” Brash said about his winning mount Hello Mr. President. “I am delighted. I feel like we have built him up in the last few weeks. Although he won the first two weeks, he felt even better now,” he continued. “In my turn to the second-last fence of the jump-off I felt like I waited a bit too much, so to be honest when I crossed the finish line I didn’t think I had done enough,” Brash analysed. “But that just shows how naturally fast my horse really is. He jumped fantastic. He is easier to ride than what he looks like – he is spooky, but he has a snaffle mouth and is adjustable. His spookiness is also an advantage, that is what makes him so careful,” he went on.
Scott has enjoyed his time at Spring MET 2018. “It has been fantastic and I think the team here tries really hard,” he said. “Everything is really well organized; you can have a lot of horses jumping, everything is on time and the rings are great. It is great to jump in a grass ring and get the horses ready before the outdoor season starts.”
Spring MET II now continues into its third week, starting again on Tuesday with classes for young horses, then offering three Longines Ranking classes throughout the week and ending with an exciting CSI3* Grand Prix next Sunday.
Photo credit © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.