Yves Vanderhasselt and Nikita van de Koekelberg top the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort at Autumn MET I 2023

Yves Vanderhasselt and Nikita van de Koekelberg top the CSI3* 1.50m  Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resortat Autumn MET I 2023

The CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort concluded the second week of Autumn MET I 2023 at Centro Ecuestre Oliva Nova in Oliva, Spain, on Sunday and it was Belgium’s Yves Vanderhasselt and the 10-year-old mare Nikita van de Koekelberg (Loro Piana Filou de Muze x VDL Cardento, bred by Guy Ganseman and owned by Luc Vermeir) that took the top honours.
 
With a time of 36.14 seconds in the jump-off, Vanderhasselt and Nikita van de Koekelberg bested a field of 56 horse-and-rider-combinations at start – eleven of which cleared Louis Konickx’s (NED) first-round track. 
 
“The course today was tough but fair,” Vanderhasselt said after his victory. “The time allowed was maybe a bit short, but the course was nice to ride. My plan going into the jump-off was to be as fast as possible without making any faults. Actually, I saw Oliver’s round and I thought I could never beat his time. I only tried to do my best, but I never expected to be faster than him. I think I made the winning difference in my approach to the last fence.”
 
“She is a granddaughter of Fleuri van de Koekelberg, who jumped big classes with Dirk Demeersman,” Vanderhasselt said about his horse Nikita van de Koekelberg. “She is owned by the Vermeir-family, and I got the ride on her this April. We started in 1.20m classes in April, and now she is winning a three-star Grand Prix. The quality of the mare is fantastic, but she is a bit sensitive and needs a lot of confidence from her rider.»

Yves Vanderhasselt and Nikita van de Koekelberg

 “I was here for the first time five years ago,” Vanderhasselt said about the venue in Oliva Nova. “Now I have a few new, good, horses who need to jump a bit, so I thought instead of starting indoors I would try and make the summer a bit longer so I came here for two weeks to prepare for next season.” 

Just like in last week’s CSI2* Grand Prix, Oliver Lazarus (RSA) and Conbalthago PS (Contendros 2 x Baloubet du Rouet, bred by Gestüt Lewitz and owned by Team Equest Pty Lim.) finished in the runner-up spot after the clock stopped on 36.53. Nano Healy (IRL) and Oak Grove’s Clown FRH (Cascadello x Balou du Rouet, bred by H.G. Van Wijlick and owned by Gestüt Eichenhain Gmbh) placed third in 37.59, while Joseph Clayton (GBR) and Commissaire S (Comme Il Faut 5 x Polydor, bred by Julius Peter Sinnak and owned by Unex Competiton Yard) finished fourth in 37.96, followed by Hessel Hoekstra (NED) and VDL Helena Van Perbeemd (Eldorado vd Zeshoek x VDL Cardento, bred by D. Vermeiren and owned by the VDL Stud) in fifth after clocking the fastest time of the afternoon – 35.70 – but on the cost of a fence down. 

The third and last week of Autumn MET I 2023 runs until October 22nd, followed by MET II from October 31st to November 19th. Autumn MET 2023 ends with MET III, which runs from November 28th to December 17th.

Click here for full results. 

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