The third and last week of Spring MET I 2022 concluded with a French victory in the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by CHG – Construcciones Hispano Germanas S.A. – as Simon Delestre and the 9-year-old gelding Dexter Fontenis Z delivered their first big win together.
From the 59 horse-and-rider combinations on the start list, only five delivered a clear round and joined the deciding jump-off: Jérôme Guery (BEL) on Napoli vh Nederassenthof (President x Quasimodo Z), Roger Yves Bost (FRA) on Bluemuch des Baleines (Chacco-Blue x Clinton), Tobias Meyer (GER) on Casablanca-H (Conteur x Landor S) and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) on H&M Legend of Love (Landzauber x Corgraf) were joined by Simon Delestre (FRA) on Dexter Fontenis Z (Diarado x Voltaire).
First out in the jump-off, Guery set the standard with a clear round in 42.80 seconds – a time that immediately was improved by the French legend Bost, who crossed the finish line in 42.40. Meyer chased the leading time, but had to see a pole fall, leaving the door open for Philippaerts and Delestre who were still to come. Riding the incredible H&M Legend of Love, Philippaerts made light work of the jump-off track and took over the lead with a time of 41.82. However, with former world number one Simon Delestre coming after him, Philippaerts’ lead was short-lived: The French rider was determined and his persistency paid off, when the clock stopped on 40.67, securing him the win ahead of Philippaerts in second, Bost in third, Guery in fourth and Meyer in fifth.
Taking his first win with the talented 9-year-old Dexter Fontenis Z, the French rider was delighted with the result. “I think the class was really nicely built,” he commented afterwards. “I have a lot of respect for Gregory Bodo, I think he is one of the best course designers in the world right now. The course was big enough, but most of all very delicate and technical. After I had walked the course, I did not think it was huge though, it looked good for a young horse like mine – but you had to ride well.”
“Dexter has a big canter, he has a lot of blood and he is fast, but since this was only my second Grand Prix with him, I was not sure where he would stand against a horse like H&M Legend of Love,” Delestre told about his plan for the jump-off. “Dexter has everything you need in a top horse today: He is bloody, has a big canter, he is careful and sensitive but does not get intimidated – he is really a crack and is bred by my partner Nicholas Hochstadter’s father.”
“The facilities here in Oliva Nova are really good,” Delestre said about the venue at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour. “The weather has been great, and there are not too many starters in the biggest classes. All the arenas are close to each other, so you don’t have to run around – I really like it 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.
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