Victor Bettendorf (LUX) and Simolo de La Roque Z (Spartacus x Casall) took their second victory in just as many days when topping Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Trofeo Dammann Reitplatz- u. Sportplatzbau GmbH at Spring MET III 2022 in Oliva Nova, Spain. The pair, that also won Saturday’s Longines Ranking class, came out on top after a tough jump-off against fourteen other horse-and-rider combinations.
A total of 59 pairs had lined up for Sunday’s 1.45m Grand Prix, and it was always going to be a race against the clock when as many as fifteen cleared the 11-fence track set by Franz Madl.
The first to clear the shortened jump-off course was Thiago Ribas Da Costa (BRA) on Kinky van’t Heike (Epleaser van’t Heike x Grandeur), who came in as fifth in the order to stop the clock on 45.25 seconds. Directly after, Nicola Pohl (GER) also delivered a clear round on Historia Do Belmonte (Nanuk II du Ry x Pacino), but her time was quickly bettered by Jeanne Sadran (FRA) on Dexter de Kerglenn (Mylord Carthago x Diamant de Semilly). However, one rider later, Sören Pedersen (DEN) slotted into a temporary second place with Chico Z (Clinton x Qantum) when clocking a time of 47.03 seconds – pushing Sadran and Pohl down on the provisional standings. Following Pedersen in the ring, Bettendorf meant business from the moment he crossed the start line and chased Da Costa’s time for every canter stride. Whistled on by the crowds, Bettendorf gave it his best shot – shaving the time to beat down to 44.68 seconds, which none of those to come could better. Da Costa finished second, Pedersen third, Sadran fourth and Pohl fifth.
“Simolo is a really, really careful horse, and the more he jumps, the better he gets, so that’s why I planned him for all three ranking classes here this week,” the happy winner said after about his 10-year-old mount. “And the plan went quite well!”
“I know that my horse is really fast, and I don’t have to try too much to have a quick time. He is also so careful that I don’t have to worry about having a pole. Most of the time I just have to try to not do too much,” Bettendorf told about his plan for the jump-off. “Today, I watched a few rounds, and I saw which risks I could take and not. But, in the end, a jump-off is always about having a bit of luck as well.”
“I have been riding Simolo since last summer, I got him from Michel Hecart who I ride a lot of horses for,” Bettendorf said. “Michel brought him up to 1.45m level, and last autumn I stepped him up to do the ranking classes and at the end of the year he jumped his first three-star Grand Prix. Since then, he has been placed in almost every class he has jumped – he is a joy to ride in the ring, and a really competitive horse.”
“I really like the venue here in Oliva Nova, the infrastructure is great for the horses,” Bettendorf said. “The conditions are perfect here. I have two horses for the bigger classes, but also several others that still need to develop and for them it is also great to be here.”
“Tonight, I will celebrate with my girlfriend and our son, having a small dinner – but it will not be too late as our son is only five months old, so our nights are very short at the moment,” Bettendorf said with a smile.