The scene was lovely today at the Brussels Stephex Masters. Lying on the grassy hills, children cheered for their heroes. The sofas surrounding the Grand Place arena filled up with horse fans busily discussing … horses of course. Even more horses and riders than during the previous days had the opportunity to do what they love most: compete. Today, the first 5* and young horses classes were on the agenda.
We concluded the day or with a 5* speed class over 1.50 m high fences. Under lights, the grass looked even more lively and green than during the day, creating a stunning atmosphere. Combining speed and accuracy in a challenging course proved to be a bit tricky for many riders. Only 9 of the 35 participants managed to stay clear.
About halfway through the competition a horse entered the arena whose name already suggested that this class might be just the thing for him. With Joyride S (Toulon x Pachat II) Wilm Vermeir set a super-fast time, leaving his competitors far behind. He remained in first place until the end of the competition. Only Daniel Deusser came somewhat close riding Kiana van het Herdershof (Toulon x Lys de Darmen). Having sired the top two horses, Toulon clearly left his mark tonight. His former rider, his longtime fan and tonight’s winner Wilm Vermeir could probably appreciate that.
“This victory is very special to me. Did you know that I was born just one kilometer from this arena? I lived here all my childhood.” But that’s not all. Joyride’s origins also lie here in Meise and it was during the Brussels Stephex Masters 4 years ago that Wilm rode him for the first time. “I knew that here in Meise, a very good breeder (Jan Van Ginderdeuren) owned a promising Toulon son. I was able to convince him to let me try Joyride in between competing at the Brussels Stephex Masters. I was immediately hooked by his skills and as you can see we are a great match. By the way, Jan was here today. It’s fantastic he saw Joyride triumph in his home town.”
It was not the first time Wilm and Joyride won the opening class of a 5* Stephex event. Last year they were also victorious at Knokke Hippique. This week we will meet Wilm in many competitions, including those for young horses. “Actually, every 5* show should organize competitions for young horses. It is the opportunity to give them some valuable experience and the Stephex team knows this very well. By the way, I would like to add that both the Belgian horse fans and international equestrians can all be very grateful to Stephan Conter for what he has created for us by organising these great events.”
Today there were also two 5* classes on the program. In the afternoon Mexico’s Fernando Martinez Sommer and High Five (Glasgow vh Merelsnest x Corland) won the CSI 5* speed course presented by Sport Vlaanderen.
Petronella Andersson was also in a great form today. With a fifth place in the main CSI 5* class, a fifth place in the competition for young horses and a victory in the CSI 3* qualifier (presented by Lieven Hendrickx), she is clearly one of the riders to beat at this year’s Brussels Stephex Masters.
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