Jean-Christophe de Grande concludes Spring MET II 2019 with
surprise win in the CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort
Jean-Christophe de Grande (BEL) surprised all by taking the win in Sunday’s CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach and Golf Resort at the Spring MET II, beating a world-class field of horses and riders
A total of twelve horse-and-rider combinations managed to produce clear rounds over Peter Schumacher and Gregory Bodo’s first-round 1.50m track. “It was a really nice course today, faults spread out and it did not take too much effort from the horses,” said the happy winner after the Grand Prix. “It was a really nice class I think.”
Baptiste Couperie (FRA) opened the jump-off with a clear round, but was quite conservative with his 45.14 seconds – eventually ending fifth. Couperie was quickly overtaken by Amy Inglis (GBR) and Wishes (Guidam x Wellington), that stopped the clock on 43.73 seconds. The five following riders all had to see rails fall, although both Harold Boisset (FRA) and Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) proved that the leading time could be bettered – however on the expense of lowering a pole.
Thierry Rozier (FRA), one of four French riders in the jump-off, took a very short turn to the third vertical of the course and came almost at a standstill with Venezia d’Ecaussinnes (Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Lys de Darmen). However, Rozier managed to not disturb his wonderful mare – making it possible to clear the fence. From there on, Rozier gave full gas – stopping the timers at 40.68 seconds to take over the lead.
Next in the ring was Jean-Christophe de Grande and the 10-year-old gelding Belano vd Wijnhoeve Z (Berlin x Darco). With his huge stride, Belano vd Wijnhoeve Z covered a lot of ground effortlessly and when landing after the combination halfway through the course the two got some proper support from the crowds – and answered by putting up the speed. Crossing the finish line, it was a happy De Grande that had taken over the lead with his 40.07 seconds.
Ben Maher (GBR), a team gold medallist from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, followed effortlessly cruising around on the 9-year-old gelding F One USA (Toulon x Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve). The British rider came close, but was just shy of De Grande’s time in 40.28 seconds – slotting into the runner-up spot.
Two Italians were the only ones left to threaten De Grande, but it was not to be for neither Albert Zorzi nor Roberto Previtali. While Zorzi got in trouble at the third fence of the jump-off, Previtali went for a steady clear as last to go – slotting in to 6th place and leaving the victory with Belgium.
“I have had my horse Belano since he was six years old,” De Grande explained after his victory. “I have taken my time with him, and every year he has been getting better. When he was seven, he won the Belgian Championships in his age category. Last year, he won the three-star Grand Prix in Moorsele and was also placed several times here in Oliva in the Grand Prix classes.”
“Up until today, I have had a bit of bad luck in the Grand Prix classes here,” De Grande said. “Belano was so good in the first round, so I said to myself in the jump-off that I really had to try and he gave everything.”
“Belano has a really big stride, so on the open stretches I have an advantage,” De Grande said about his winning jump-off. “I also took a lot of risk to the ‘Oxer’-jump, at no. 15, and I think that made the difference today. To win here ahead of Ben Maher and all the good riders is a big achievement for me.”
The Spring MET now takes a short break, before the Tour resumes with its third part on March 12th running through to March 31st.
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
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