The second week at the Autumn MET 2021 concluded with the €51.500 CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort, which ended in Dutch domination.
Spain’s very own Santiago Varela – who was also in charge of the courses for the Tokyo Olympics – had designed a delicate, demanding track. The Spanish mastermind once again showcased his brilliance, producing great sport and a class that was exciting to follow. With 13 obstacles, 16 efforts and a time allowed set to 81 seconds, only three horse-and-rider combinations from a field of 36 managed to deliver a clear round: Austria’s Julia Houtzager-Kayser – who lives in the Netherlands – on High Five (Toulon x Burggraaf NV), as well as Dutch riders Willem Greve on Grandorado TN (Eldorado Vd Zeshoek x Carolus II) and Michael Greeve on Guan GJB (Namelus R x Sydney).
“The courses have been super here the whole week. Today, it was a nice course, delicate enough, but as it was a three-star Grand Prix, that’s how it should be,” Greeve said about the track. “The plank was for sure a problem for many; the distance there was a little bit long, you got a bit of a flat jump on the triple bar, so a lot of the horses did not jump up on the plank. Then you had the combination after it, which came at the end of the course at a point where many horses had made a lot of effort already, plus it was away from the in-gate and optically challenging.”
First out in the jump-off, Julia Houtzager-Kayser and High Five set the standard, leaving all the fences intact in 45.03 seconds, putting pressure on the two Dutch riders that followed. Next up was Willem Greve on the beautiful Grandorado TN. Taking full advantage of the stallion’s huge stride, Greve seemed well ahead in time but took a big risk to the MET wall when attempting to jump it on an angle and had a surprise refusal which resulted in eleven faults. Last to go in the jump-off, Michael Greeve on Guan GJB did an effective round, producing a clear in a time of 42.50 – pushing Houtzager-Kayser to second and Greve to third.
“My plan was to go inside to the MET wall like Willem did, but then I got a great start from one to two,” the winner explained about his tactic for the jump-off. “Then I thought not to take the risk and rather continue quick. I know Julia’s horse and I know mine, so I thought it should be enough. I could take a bit of risk to the combination, and at the end it paid off.”
Leading up to his CSI3* Grand Prix win, Greeve has had a great week in Oliva Nova. “I won the big class yesterday too, and today I was second in another ranking class, so it has been great,” he said. “Last week was also super; all the horses have won a class here and I have five with me, so that is good.”
Speaking of his winning mount, the Namelus R-son Guan GJB, Greeve said: “He is a 10-year-old and has already jumped a few three-star Grand Prix classes and won a couple two-stars with me. He is a great horse and has the potential to jump bigger classes, he is careful in the ring and has huge scope. I am happy to have him in my stable.”
Greeve has been to the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour before and is impressed to see the development of the venue. “I have been here a few times at the beginning, and now I am back,” he explained. “Seeing how much they have done here and all the improvement, the super footing and super courses, for me the MET is one of the best places to come with my horses.”
Rounding off the top five in today’s Grand Prix, Belgium’s Virginie Thonon on High Tech Vy Septon (Del Piero P&B x Chellano Z) took the fourth place as the quickest four-falter in the first round, while her compatriot Jérôme Guery on Margriet de Mariposa (Nabab de Reve x For Pleasure) continued his great form picking up the fifth spot.
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