The Spanish anthem plays again al the Autumn MET as Sergio Álvarez Moya wins the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by the Stephen Group
Last Sunday, Spain’s Mariano Martinez Bastida went off with the Grand Prix victory at 2020-autumn edition of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Oliva Nova, Spain – today it was his compatriot Sergio Alvarez Moya’s turn to succeed. Aboard Valdocco des Caps (Number One d’Iso x Quidam de Revel), Alvarez Moya left his competitors with no chance in this CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix presented by the Stephex Group. “It’s always nice to win, I don’t care where!” Alvarez Moya laughed about his home-soil win.
In beautiful autumn weather, the stage was set for another exciting Grand Prix at the Autumn MET 2020. Operating under strict Covid-19 guidelines and protocols, the tour is run without spectators but judged by the last weeks of competition the lack of audience has not at all dampened the spirit of the riders as every class in Oliva Nova has been extremely fast. Sunday’s Grand Prix – that also counted for the world ranking – proved to be no exception. With 16 of the 82 horse-and-rider combinations in the Grand Prix qualifying for the jump-off after clearing Gregory Bodo’s (FRA) first-round track – including speed merchants Harold Boisset (FRA), Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Jerome Guery (BEL) – it was yet again bound to be a race against the clock.
The first clear round in the jump-off came from Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) and La Perla vd Heffick (Cooper vd Heffinck x Contact vd Heffinck), that stayed in the lead for quite a while with their time of 40.37 seconds. Moving into the second half of the jump-off, Elisa Strubbe (BEL) and Mr. Quality Z (Mr. Blue x Casall) brough the time to beat down to 39.84 seconds – which was quickly bettered by Julien Epaillard (FRA) and Usual Suspect d’Auge (Jarnac x Papillon Rouge) who blazed around to a time of 34.59 seconds. It looked like it would be hard to beat Epaillard, who – as usual – has notched up one win after the other in Oliva Nova. As next to go, Lieven Devos (BEL) and Inca’s Big Think (Beaulieu’s Think Big x Lanciano) delivered another clear – but the pair was not fast enough to pass Epaillard and slotted in behind the French rider in 38.09 seconds.
As second last to go, Alvarez Moya set off with determination. Having cleared the combination half-way, the Spanish rider moved his 11-year-old gelding into top gear – giving full gas down the penultimate line consisting of an upright and an oxer before turning back tight to the final vertical. Crossing the finish line, Alvarez Moya turned his head and looked at the big screen: The clock showed 34.31 seconds and he had taken over the lead from the seemingly unstoppable Epaillard. Leaving the ring, Alvarez Moya still had to watch last-to-go Jerome Guery give it a go – but it was not to be for the Belgian rider today. For a second week in a row, it was a Spanish win in the Grand Prix.
“I knew I had to watch out a bit until the combination, after I could let him lose – he loves to go fast,” Alvarez Moya commented on his tactic for the jump-off with Valdocco des Caps. “To the second last, he really just backed off himself. I think he delivered the best jump-off round today!”
“It’s difficult to win here. There are some real speed specialists present and they go “volle hacke” every round, and as I’m not doing that very often I really have to give myself a kick behind if I want to beat them!” Alvarez Moya laughed.
“I started riding Valdocco des Caps earlier this year, he came to me from Cian O’Connor,” Alvarez Moya explained. “He has a lot of personality, so you have to get to know him. He is not a horse you tell what to do, you have to ask him. He is a real competitor, and now that we start to form a partnership the results are coming. I’m really happy with him today!” Alvarez Moya said.
“It’s a hard time for everyone right now, but somehow we have to keep our industry going and continue to develop our horses. As riders we should be really thankful to those event organisers that manage to keep the shows running. They make a big effort to keep our sport going – even in times where it’s difficult to come up with prize money and sponsors,” Alvarez Moya concluded.
The second tour of the Autumn MET now enters its last week of competition, running until November 15th.
For full results, click here.
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
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