The second week of Spring MET III 2022 in Oliva Nova, Spain concluded with the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort and it was Ales Opatrny with Forewer that took the top honours.
The course set by Louis Konickx (NED) counted 13 obstacles and 16 efforts, and eight horse-and-rider combinations, out of a field of 50, solved all the questions asked to qualify for the jump-off: Sophie Hinners (GER) with Million Dollar (Plot Blue x Vigo D Arsouilles Stx), Pia Reich (GER) with Pb Chaconie (Chacco-Blue x Kannan), Ales Opatrny (CZE) with Forewer (Caruso 279 x Grossadmiral) as well as Donald Whitaker (GBR) with Diego (Colman x Guidam), Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) with Napoleon van den Dael (For Passion d’Ive Z x Eros Platiere), Julien Epaillard (FRA) with Caracole de La Roque (Zandor Z x Kannan*Gfe), Edwin Smits (SUI) with Farezzo (Arezzo VDL x Van Gogh) and Hessel Hoekstra (NED) with Icoon VDL (VDL Bubalu x Cardento).
Hinners opened up the jump-off with a clear round in 39.74 seconds and was followed by Reich who also produced another clear in 40.38 seconds. Opatrny was next to go, and with full speed from start to finish he managed to shave off more than three seconds on Hinners’ time, stopping the clock at 36.67 seconds to loud cheers from the crowds.
Opatrny put so much pressure on the ones to come that none of those to follow cleared the shortened jump-off course. Epaillard got closest with his 37.09 seconds, but with the very last fence down he had to settle for fourth place, followed by Modolo Zanotelli in fifth on four faults in 37.91 seconds.
“It was a very fast jump-off,” Opatrny said after his win. “I saw Hinners’ round and she was already very fast, and I knew that I had two very speedy riders behind me in Epaillard and Modolo Zanotelli so I had to put pressure on them and it worked out this time. I’m so happy with this win.”
“Forewer is bred by my parents and we educated him ourselves. He has won several Grand Prix classes already and we were also at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last summer,” Opatrny said about his winning mount.
“This is my first time in Oliva Nova,” Opatrny said. “My student will compete at the European Championships for juniors here this summer, so we thought it would be a good idea to come here before that and see how the venue is. I’m really impressed with how well organised everything is with the stables, parking for the trucks, and the show ground is just great. I’m really happy to be here.”
The Spring MET 2022 runs in four parts from January to April, gathering some of the world’s very best horses and riders under the Spanish sun. For more information, visit metoliva.com.