The second week of Spring MET I 2018 got a kick start on Wednesday, when the best 5-, 6- and 7-year-old horses lined up for the Young Horse Finals presented by Absolute Horses in each of the age categories.
The 7-year-old horses battled it out over a 1.40m course that counted 12 obstacles and 15 efforts in the first round, with the time allowed set to 86 seconds. Finishing off with a triple combination and one final wide oxer, the course proved tricky enough and only nine pairs cleared the first round to join the jump-off over a shortened, eight-fence track. In the end, it turned out to be Marc Bettinger’s day. Aboard Giro de la Luna (Van Gogh x Cassini I), the German rider took a brave canter to the final fence, stopping the clocks on 40,04 seconds – a time that was unbeatable for the ones to follow. “I only got this horse one week before the Tour, and already last week he jumped really good,” Marc explained afterwards. “Today I felt like he was really fighting for me in the jump-off.”
Marc is a familiar face in Oliva Nova. “I am always happy to come here,” he said. “It is a beautiful facility, for both horses and people. But for me, the horses are the most important thing and I think they are very happy here, with the good, clean stables and good grounds. I am staying for MET I, but will be back later.”
Philip McGuane (IRL) on Gentleman Time (Quality Time x Cento), took the runner-up position in the final for the 7-year-olds with a time of 43,93 seconds, while Björn Nagel (GER) on Risohorse Nicolina (Numero Uno x Polydor) placed third with a time of 45,15. Michael Hughes (USA) on Cornados (Cornado I x Lados) took the fourth place, and the fifth spot went to Maria Magdalena Celotto (BEL) on Nabaska de la Falize (Nabab de Reve x Papillon Rouge).
With 36 starters in the final for the 6-year-old horses, a total of 23 of them cleared the first round. In the jump-off over a shortened, seven fence-track, it was Diana Marsá-Lafarge (ESP) on Ciara (Cristallo I x Pageno), that clocked the fastest time of the day in 33,06 seconds and took home the win for the hosts. “I am so happy with the win today,” Diana said afterwards. “I bought Ciara last summer from Cameron Hanley, and he still owns half of the horse. This is her second show. I think she has all the scope, and her mentality is very good. She is also very easy for me to manage in the ring,” she praised her winning ride. “Last week she did two clear rounds, so today I am very happy to end up winning.”
Diana has been coming to MET for many years. “I used to come here since the beginning of the Tour, with all my young horses. I think it is a nice experience for them, with all the rings. The ground is good, and there are bigger classes for my other horses as well,” she explained. “This year I will stay for MET 1 and 2 now in the spring, and I will definitely be back in the autumn.”
Armin Himmelreich (GER) on Cascada (Casino Berlin x Almox Prints) took the runner-up position with a time of 33,54 seconds, while Guillaume Foutrier (FRA) on Clin Doeil du Paradis (Stakkato x C Indoctro) placed third with a time of 33,88. Yoan Lebouteiller (FRA) on Die Hard Of Roses Z (Diamant de Semilly x Cristo) took the fourth place, and the fifth spot went to Loic Cannaert (BEL) and Meribel (Zilverstar Z x Salinator).
A total of 18 horse-and-rider combinations took part in the final for the 5-year-old horses. Twelve pairs cleared their way into the jump-off over a shortened, seven-fence track. Serena Curcio (ITA) on Casper (Casall x Ephebe F.Ever) was the fastest of the day, clocking the winning time of 38,18 seconds. Julien Macedoine (BEL) on Cassarino Z (Cassaro Z x Ramzes) took the runner-up position with a time of 39,42 seconds, while Emma Stoker (GBR) on Q Seven (Quaid x Stakkato) placed third after finishing the jump-off course in 39,98. Loic Cannaert (BEL) on E-Risingson Z (Elvis Ter Putte x Concorde) took the fourth place, and the fifth spot went to Daniel Heuer (GER) on Deep Impact 8 (Dantos HBC x Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve).