Giulia Martinengo Marquet makes the most of being last to win the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by CHG at Spring MET II
As last to go in a nine-horse jump-off, Giulia Martinengo Marquet (ITA) and Elzas (Diamant de Semilly x Cornet Obolensky) made the most of their position to snatch the victory from Michael Hughes (USA) in Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by CHG at Spring MET II
“Being last to go helped, the crowd was screaming so I got excited. He is really fast, so for the last jump I said to myself ‘Let’s go for it’ and it worked out,” Martinengo Marquet smiled after her win.
The jump-off was full of top names, after nine of the 89 horse-and-rider combinations in the class managed to produce clear rounds over Gérard Lachat’s (SUI) first round track that counted thirteen fences – including both a triple combination and a combination. A factor that proved to keep quite a few out of the jump-off, was the time-allowed. World no. one Steve Guerdat (SUI) was one of the ten riders missing out when crossing the finish line outside the maximum time of 75 seconds to record a single penalty.
“I think the course was quite challenging, maybe more due to the time allowed than the track itself. It was not massive, but it was delicate and technical – making it tough enough,” commented Martinengo Marquet afterwards.
First to return for the jump-off was the notoriously fast Harold Boisset (FRA) on Katinka vh Valenberghof (Corland x Montender). The French rider – a winner of numerous classes in Oliva Nova – opened with another clear round in 43.94 seconds. While Roberto Previtali (ITA) and Niall Talbot (IRL) both had a rail down over the shortened track, Ulrich Kirchhoff (UKR) slotted into a temporary second with a clear round in 46.28 seconds.
As next to go, former world no. one Scott Brash (GBR) rode a beautiful yet efficient round on Hello Shelby (Stolzenberg x For Pleasure) to stop the clocks at 43.81 seconds to push in ahead of Boisset. When Alberto Zorzi (ITA) and Cinsey (Contendro I x For Pleasure) could not catch up with the top two with their time of 44.03 seconds, things were looking good for Brash with only three to come.
When Brash’s compatriot Emily Moffitt (GBR) had a pole down on the second oxer, a place on a podium was guaranteed for the British ace but the question was still if it would be good enough for the win.
Michael Hughes (USA) entered the Oliva Nova ring next, and with Baldur 75 (Baloussini x Candidatus) the stylish American rider tightened the turns and chased Brash while being cheered and whistled on by the crowds. Crossing the finish line, the clocks showed 43.72 seconds and there was a new leader.
For Giulia Martinengo Marquet it was a case of all or nothing, and the Italian rider went for the first alternative – going for it with all the risk while being pushed on by the crowds. Martinengo Marquet’s risk-taking paid off though, as she managed to push the time down to 43.16 seconds to snatch the win from Hughes.
“I have been riding my horse Elzas for one-and-a-half year, but we have been taking it slowly because he was quite green. The idea was to come here to give him a bit more experience, and today he was absolutely fantastic. He is a really fast horse, this we knew already, but he did not have much experience in the bigger classes so obviously I am really happy with what he showed today,” Martinengo Marquet said.
“I am a repeater,” Martinengo Marquet laughed about her love for the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour and Oliva Nova. “I have been coming here for eight years. I find it the best place on earth to compete, I love everything about it. I think the facilities are great, and I really like the new sand arena. And of course, I love to take the horses to the beach – it’s such a nice way of changing the way of working them. It really relaxes them, and they get fit in another way – and as a rider you also have a lot of fun!”
The Spring MET II now enters its last week of competition, with a CSI3* running through from Tuesday 19th to Sunday 24th before the Tour returns for its third part in March.
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
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