The event grounds were abuzz with fans eager to witness the highlight of the 2023 Brussels Stephex Masters. Contenders tackled two challenging rounds, with only the top 12 from the initial round advancing to the final showdown. The rider accumulating the least penalties over the two rounds would be rewarded with an Audi Q8 e-tron.
Belgian fans initially believed they had only three compatriots to root for in the second round. Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Legend Of Love had knocked a rail down at one of the final jumps which meant that he would not advance. But, upon review, officials determined that a fallen horseshoe had caused the mishap, not a fault of the rider or horse. To the delight of the crowd: Olivier was deemed faultless, raising the count to four Belgians in round two!
Though the first round saw impeccable performances, the second turned out to be a real challenge. Only Argentinian rider, José María (jr) Larocca (Finn Lente | Gaillard de La Pomme x Colandro), and Britain’s Ben Maher, riding Dallas Vegas Batilly (Cap Kennedy x l’Arc de Triomphe*Bois Margot), cleared the course. Maher, flaunting his Olympic champion form, delivered an unmatched pace, leaving Larocca trailing. The outcome? Maher reigns supreme in the Rolex Grand Prix, presented by Audi with Larocca stealing second. Despite having one down, a superfast round placed Philippaerts third.