As last to go, Oliver Lazarus (RSA) concluded the Spring MET III with a win in Sunday’s CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort. Worth 50,000 Euro, 58 riders had qualified for the 1.50m Grand Prix earlier on in the weekend – also looking to earn some valuable world ranking points.
The first-round track set by Christian Wiegand (GER) counted thirteen fences, and included a triple combination, an open water as well as a delicate combination coming into the last line – jumping an upright in with a plank on top that many horses took down, followed by a wide oxer and then six strides to another oxer then another four short strides to the last vertical.
“Before the class started I heard someone asking the course builder how many clears he thought it would be, and he answered twelve – and we had exactly twelve,” Lazarus commented after his win. “The last line was really tricky, first you spread out over the water jump and the oxer following it – also really using the whole ring – and then that last line was very short. It was not overly big, but there were a few tricks here and there and with the twelve clears it was perfect in the end.”
Among the twelve were no less than four Germans, and three of them took care of second, third and fourth place. Simone Blum on DSP Alice (Askari x Landrebell) finished as runner-up 0.39 seconds behind Lazarus, followed by her compatriots Maurice Tebbel on Don Diarado (Diarado x Lord Lancer) in third and Laura Klaphake on Catch Me If You Can (Catoki x Acordplus) in fourth. Fifth place went to French rider Aldrick Cheronnet on Uris de La Roque (Capital x Quick Star)
After holding on to the lead for quite a while, Blum had to let go after Oliver Lazarus and the 13-year-old gelding Campino 344 (Converter x Capriol) raced around the shortened track going full speed down the last stretch to clear the final oxer snatching the win from the Germans.
“Campino helped me out a lot in the jump-off, he is an amazing horse,” Lazarus said. “The course for the jump-off suited him quite perfect, especially with the turn back to the double of verticals. He is so careful so I knew I could attack the jumps there, and he would do the rest. I took all the risk on the last stretch, I knew I was going to be a little bit behind on the time so it was either finish fourth or trying to win it so I thought why not. I am really, really proud of Campino today.”
Campino is owned by Team Equest, a company Lazarus’ fiancée Georgie Harvey owns, and the partnership between horse and rider is quite a new one. “Georgie rode him successfully last year in the Globals, in the one- and two-stars, and then she was kind enough to give me the ride. This is only our fourth show together, so I am really happy with him. I hope we can step up during the summer season and do some bigger shows together,” explained the South African rider.
This was Lazarus’ first time competing in Oliva, and he has enjoyed his MET experience. “The ground here has been great, the course designing too, the weather is really nice and I like that everything is so close – I can train Georgie and still compete myself, so it’s been really good here,” closed the happy winner off.
The Spring MET now takes a short break, before it resumes for its fourth part of the Tour that runs from April 10th to 22nd.
Photo credit © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.