The third and last week of Spring MET III 2022 in Oliva Nova, Spain, came to a conclusion on Sunday with the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by CHG and it was Switzerland’s Edwin Smits on Farezzo that took the top honours after a flying round in the jump-off.
Ten out of the 54 participants cleared the first-round track – set by the German Peter Schumacher – and joined the deciding jump-off: Victor Bettendorf (LUX) on Simolo de la Roque Z (Spartacus x Casall), Hessel Hoekstra (NED) on Icoon VDL (VDL Bubalu x Cardento), Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER) on Messi van’T Ruytershof (Plot Blue x For Pleasure), Bilal Zaryouh (FRA) on Usual Suspect d’Auge (Jarnac x Papillon Rouge), Julien Epaillard (FRA) on Edesa’s Djud Box (Diarado x Chacco Blue) and René Tebbel (UKR) on Tulum (Chacco-Blue x Captain Paul I) were joined by Daniel Meech (NZL) on Donjon d’Asschaut (Vigo Cece x Nonstop), Edwin Smits (SUI) on Farezzo (Arezzo VDL x Van Gogh), Pia Reich (GER) on PB Chaconie (Chacco-Blue x Kannan) and Sophie Hinners (GER) on Million Dollar (Plot Blue x Vigo d’Arsouilles).
Jumping clear, Hoekstra set the standard when stopping the clock on 44.34 in the jump-off – which turned into a real race. Zaryouh then took over the lead with a time of 43.71, only to be overtaken by Epaillard – who’s time in turn was beaten by Tebbel when he crossed the finish line in 40.06 seconds. While Tebbel’s round seemed to leave little room for improvement, Smits was the only one that managed to go under the 40-second mark – taking over the lead with an incredible time of 39.35 seconds, pushing Tebbel to runner-up position. While the two Germans left in the jump-off pushed for the win, 40.60 seconds for Reich and 41.07 for Hinners did not threaten the Swiss lead, and Smits could celebrate another Grand Prix win in Oliva Nova, while Tebbel had to settle for the runner-up position, Reich for third, Hinners for fourth and Epaillard for fifth.
“Farezzo jumped his heart out for me, he was flying,” Smits said after his victory. “He did everything right and I think this time, I got everything right as well. After CHI Geneva, Farezzo had a break and last week in the jump-off I added one stride to the last fence – and he had that one down. I blamed myself so much for that, he would have been second then, it was already a good jump-off otherwise. Today, I saw the others go faster and faster – and Julien was so quick – I thought I had no idea how to even make it to the top three. So, I went in and gave everything.”
“I have had him for a few years now,” Smits said about Farezzo. “Last year, we were close to getting on the Swiss team for the European Championships. He has done some very good results at five-star shows and last year in Geneva he jumped very good. I thought he deserved a big break after that, and now he has started the season again here in Oliva. I am building him up here for the coming Nations Cup shows.”
“The show here is amazing for us in preparation for the season,” Smits said about the venue in Oliva Nova. “It is also always competitive; it is not that you go here and just pop around, that is not how it is. With Julien and many other top riders here, it makes you better and gets you back in shape, in being competitive. And the ground is just incredible; even now with all the bad weather we had – which is something I have never experienced before – the ground still stayed perfect. It is unbelievable how good you can work with the horses here, that is just amazing – a huge compliment to Bettina and her team.”
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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