KNOKKE-HEIST – “Today was my day”, the Belgian winner of the 1.60m Rolex Grand Prix – presented by Audi says contently. Jérôme Guery and his mount Quel Homme de Hus but also the number two, Kevin Staut, and the organization of Knokke Hippique had luck on their side today. Resulting in the perfect end to a turbulent final class built by Italian mastermind Uliano Vezzani.
Confidence was the key to Jérôme Guery’s victory today. It was announced this week that the rider is part of the team that will represent Belgium at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. As the second rider to go in a nine-horse jump-off Guery made a plan and stuck to it. On the way out his fantastic jumping mount Quel Homme de Hus (by Quidam de Revel) just lightly touched the rail of the final Rolex vertical, but it stayed up. The duo finished with a clear round and set the time to beat on 38.98.
“The news that me and Quel Homme de Hus have a spot on the team gave us extra confidence to go for it today. It is the last show before Tokyo so to have a result like this makes me so happy. This is not a small victory but a huge one! I know my horse is not super-fast, but we are a great team. Everyone here saw that it could be done faster but luck was on our side so to speak. When we are in a jump-off you can count on us doing our best and this show really brings out the best in me”, the winner refers to his earlier Grand Prix win in Knokke-Heist in 2015.
The riders that did beat Guery’s time were Max Kühner (AUS) and Scott Brash (GBR). With Elektric Blue P (by Eldorado van de Zeshoek) Kühner could be seen blazing around the track but in his effort to finish faster the pair knocked a rail down of the penultimate fence and had to settle for third place in 0/4 – 37,87. Scott Brash – the only rider to every with the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping – almost added another Rolex Grand Prix win to his list of honors. As the final rider to go Brash had everyone holding their breath, storming towards the last fence. On the home stretch there was only the Rolex vertical to clear. With his amazing jumping mount Hello Vincent (by Consul di Vie) the British rider’s risk unfortunately did not pay off and the pair had the last rail down. Missing out on the first place, a brilliant Rolex watch and an Audi e-tron Brash finished in fourth place in 0/4 – 38,50.
The rider to finish second and to win an Audi A3 was Kevin Staut. He was sixth to go in the jump-off and also had luck on his side. But initially he did not notice. The French rider’s mount Bulgarie d’ Engandou (by Vargas de Ste Hermelle) jumped the second fence and a rail fell to the ground. However not because the ten-year-old mare touched the fence. A shoe that came flying off tipped the middle rail of the obstacle out of the cups. Leaving the rider to think he had four faults but actually he was still in the clear.
“My horse it not the most experienced horse so I wasn’t aiming to go very fast. But I also did not mean to go this slow. Because I heard the audience sigh, I really thought I was in the fault and took my time”, the runner-up says with a smile about his finish in 45,26 seconds. Staut continues: “This is still a very young horse, but she has shown such potential especially at a top show like this it is amazing to finish in second place. I believe we were very lucky in this jump-off, and I hope to experience more magic moments like this with this horse in the future.”
The man who made all the magic possible in Knokke-Heist, Stephan Conter, was next to take the microphone at the press conference. We are very thankful to have had the many of the best riders and horses of the world compete here. The jump-off we’ve seen with among others the top three ranked riders of the world, two riders of the Belgian Olympic team and the highest ranked U25 rider competing against each other: what could be better?!”
Finishing his word of thanks by giving all the credits to the partners and the Knokke Hippique team. “We are also very lucky. We have Rolex and Audi to thank for always pushing us to organize great sport events even during difficult times. We are very grateful to them and everyone else who made this show a succes. Not to forget a big thank you to our newest and unexpected partner: the weather. It promised to rain only after the Grand Prix and it came true”, the CEO of Stephex Group summarizes a perfect final day of the first week of Knokke Hippique whilst outside a thunderstorm of great force almost floods the venue.
Full results from Sunday’s CSI5* 1.60m Rolex Grand Prix presented by Audi can be found via this link.
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