This week, the 2020-autumn edition of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour kicked off in Oliva Nova, Spain and the competitions culminated with Sunday’s CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix counting for the world ranking that was won by Germany’s Richard Vogel
Operating under strict Covid-19 guidelines and protocols, today’s Grand Prix was run without spectators but that did not dampen the riders’ spirits as they turned the jump-off into a real race against the clock.
Fourteen of the 34 horse-and-rider combinations in the class managed to jump clear rounds over the Grand Prix track designed by Elena Boix (ESP), to move on to the jump-off. Against the clock, it was Donald Whitaker (GBR) that set the first clear in a fast time of 36.97 seconds aboard Atevla (Rissoa d’AG Bois Margot x Lagardere II). However, as next to go, veteran Michel Hecart (FRA) rode a beautiful, fluent round on Solero MS (Silvio I x Espri) to go into the lead with a time of 36.61 seconds. Three more riders set clear rounds, but none of them could catch up with Hecart until Saturday’s ranking class winners Remco Been and Holland vd Bisschop (Heartbreaker x Libero H) gave it a shot. The pair came flying into the last oxer, but made it to the other side and slotted into pole position in 36.13 seconds.
A few riders later, Darragh Kenny (IRL) showed everyone why he is considered one of the fastest riders in the world when going flat out with Belo Horizonte (Baloubet du Rouet x Clearway) to bring the time down to an unbelievable 34.29 seconds. Kenny’s time looked nearly impossible to beat, but as next to go in-form Richard Vogel (GER) proved that theory wrong when putting the 12-year-old gelding Diego (Colman x Guidam) in top gear to stop the clock at 34.19 seconds. Vogel’s performance turned out to be the winning one, as neither of the two last riders stood a chance to beat the 23-year-old that has been unstoppable over the last few months.
“Today was obviously a good day,” said Vogel – who has recorded no less than six victories during his first week in Oliva, including today’s Grand Prix and Friday’s world ranking class. “Diego only jumped a 1.30 class earlier this week, so he was super fresh and motivated today – and really fought for me!”.
“It’s only my third show with Diego,” Vogel explained. “He is owned by Nicola Pohl and I got the ride on him when I moved to Dagoberthausen. Diego is super simple, and the kind of horse that wants to a good job for his rider. I am lucky to ride him”.
“The whole team from Dagoberthausen is here, David Will, Nicola and me,” Vogel continued. “We are all really motivated and have a great atmosphere in between us. It has been going really well for us so far; Nicola was also double clear in the Grand Prix today and has been placed in the ranking classes, David was in the jump-off today too – so the team is doing good!”.
“We really wanted to come here to the Autumn MET to bring our horses along, as well as to give the older ones the chance to be competitive in the bigger classes. The facilities are great here and the weather is super. There is not so much you can improve in this place!” Vogel concluded.
Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
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