A devastating turn of speed when second-last to go with Casanova de L’Herse gave Belgium’s François Mathy the honours in this afternoon’s Engel & Volkers Two-Phase competition at CSIO 5* Rome. But he had to work hard to overtake the brilliant performances of Italian newcomers 24-year-old Luigi Polesello and the sensational 15-year-old rider Giacomo Casadei who he demoted to second and third places.
“I felt sorry for them because I know what it is for an Italian rider to win in Rome, but there are other classes for them!” said 47-year-old Mathy. He was delighted with his 10-year-old Belgian stallion Casanova because today’s result marks a real return to form. “He’s a very competitive horse, normally jumps fast and clear and he belongs to Ingrid Norman who has been with me for many years so she was very pleased today. At the last show things didn’t go so well, but before that Casanova was very consistent and I hope today puts us back on track again!”, he said.
The Belgian rider is loving the new look to Rome CSIO and Piazza di Siena. “It is so beautiful here, the surroundings are fantastic. This is one of the most prestigious shows and it is good it has been taken over to make it as big as it was before, so I am really looking forward to this year and to future years.” he added.
Casadei is the youngest rider ever to compete at Piazza di Siena, and that’s no surprise because he’s only 15. As Mathy pointed out, “it is very exciting for Italian showjumping to have young riders like them coming along so well in the sport.” These rising stars owe the opportunity they have been given to Italian Chef d’Equipe, Duccio Bartalucci, who put in place a rigorous selection procedure over the past few months. With 100 riders on his list he spent a great deal of time assessing their ability and potential, and only the best have made the cut to Piazza di Siena where they are giving a great account of themselves.
Casadei’s whole family is involved in the sport, but because he is so young he is restricted to classes up to a maximum of 1.45m. “I only rode ponies for two years and then moved on to horses when I was 11 because I was already growing tall!” he explained. He set the early target in 28.74 seconds with his stallion My Forever today, but Luigi Polesello cut more than a second off that with Farao Van’t Vennehof, a gelding that came from Irish rider Shane Breen two years ago. “In the beginning he wasn’t easy to ride, he was very strong and he has a lot of blood but I have worked with him a lot and now he is doing really great!” said the rider who, with his other top horse Panama, also recorded a strong result when finishing tenth at the FEI World Cup show in Verona.
Full Results here.
Source: Press Release by CSIO di Roma – Piazza di Siena
Photo: © CSIO Roma / Mario Grassia
Categories: CSI 5*