Saturday at the CSI5* Valkenswaard turned out to be the day of Gregory Wathelet (Belgium). With his 12 year old stallion Nevados the rider bolted through the jump-off of the CSI5* Grand Prix, securing victory and 99.000 Euro of prize money. After his triumph Gregory Wathelet said: “I am very very happy and my horse jumped amazing. I knew the jump off would be really fast, so I took some risks and fortunately he played the game with me. I know my horse is quite fast and on the left turn I can take some risks. It was my day today.”
It was a star-studded line-up of 35 horse and rider combinations that had qualified for the Grand Prix of the CSI5* in Valkenswaard. All in all 12 combinations kept clear in the first round, taking part in the jump-off, where parcours designer Uliano Vezzani had prepared a couple of tricky tasks for horses and riders. First to go was world champion Simone Blum with Cool Hill. The two came home finishing four points due to a fault. The same happened to Christian Ahlmann, Max Kühner (Austria) and Pieter Devos (Belgium).
Scott Brash, starting on eigth position in the jump-off, added an extra stride in the roll back to fence 15 leaving some room for others to be faster. He flew into the lead on Hello Jefferson at this stage in a superb fast round in 45.72 seconds. But though the victory seemed to be close at hand, it was the next rider to take on the lead. Gregory Wathelet and his grey stallion Nevados proved to be the ones to set the pace. The combination was lightning fast around the course. His risks paid off and he shaved an incredible 1.10 seconds off Scott Brash’s time to clinch victory in 44.62 seconds.
The Belgium victory was at risk for a moment, when Marlon Modolo Zanotelli from Brasil could beat the time. But when a pole came down at an upright, Gregory Wathelet was safe, staying on the top of the list, where only four riders could stay clear.
results CSI5* Grand Prix Valkenswaard