Rotterdam, The Netherlands – July 4, 2021 – In a thrilling finish to this year’s edition of the CHIO Rotterdam, the home crowd could rejoice once again as Dutch rider Sanne Thijssen (NED) won the Longines Grand Prix of Rotterdam CSIO 5*. With Con Quidam RB (Quinar x Cardino), she beat 15 other combinations in the jump-off and had an absolute dream debut at this event.
Second place was claimed by McLain Ward (USA) riding Contagious The 1.60m challenge was right down to the wire among the top two combinations with the American and the 12-year-old chestnut German Sport Horse gelding (Contagio x For Keeps) being just three-hundredths of a second off the mark set by the winnind duo.
Another Dutch rider climbed the podium as Kim Emmen (NED) and Jack van het Dennenhof (Toulon x Quidam de Revel) registered the third fastest clean performance in the jump-off, crossing the finish line in 33.52 seconds.
Thijssen was first to start in the jump-off and gave her all to produce a razor-sharp time of 33.10 seconds. The Dutch rider herself, however, thought she could have done even better. “It knew it was a very fast round, but I also had to hold my horse back a bit because he got a little too excited. That made me think the others could beat my time.”
Though Sanne Thijssen (NED) is new to competing in Rotterdam, she is no stranger to the podium. In the last couple of years, she has claimed several victories and was named Rabo Talent of the Year in 2016. “You just really need good horses at this level, and I had some bad luck with that. Con Quidam RB was injured for a while, but fortunately he has recovered and now I have a really good horse.”
The American McLain Ward (USA) came very close to besting Thijssen, but finished 0.03 seconds later. “I saw Sanne’s ride and I knew it was going to be a problem for the rest of us. She took all the risk at the last fence and it paid off. I gave everything I had to try to win. Sometimes, you come out of the arena feeling like there were some things you could have done better, but, like I told her when I saw her after my ride, I had nothing left this time.”
Another young Dutch rider also made a strong debut at this year’s CHIO Rotterdam. Kim Emmen (NED) took third place in the Longines Grand Prix of Rotterdam with Jack van het Dennenhof. “I saw Sanne ride and thought to myself, I’m never going to make that. But I did my round and looked up to the score board to see that the difference wasn’t that big.”
Dutch team captain Rob Ehrens (NED) praised both young Dutch riders for the way they tackled the jump-off. “Sanne and Kim showed us that riding a good jump-off isn’t just about speed. You have to use your brains as well. A big compliment to Sanne for winning here on her debut. Her performance was excellent, from beginning to end.”
What role could this new generation play in the Dutch jumping team? “The fact that the young riders are performing so well gives us opportunities, which we have to look into. But it’s also important not to put too much weight on young riders’ shoulders. We also have the European Championships coming up in a couple of months, so it’s something to think about.”
This was a Dutch ending of the 72nd CHIO Rotterdam. In a different COVID-19 proof setup there was great sports which could be watched online. Next year CHIO Rotterdam will take place June 23 – 26, 2022.
Final Results – €150,000 Longines Grand Prix of Rotterdam CSIO 5*
1) Sanne Thijssen (NED) & Con Quidam RB – 0 / 0 – 33.10
2) McLain Ward (USA) & Contagious – 0 / – 33.13
3) Kim Emmen (NED) & Jack van het Dennenhof – 0 / 0 – 33.52
Source: Press Release by Anitta Lussenburg for CHIO Rotterdam
Photo: © CHIO Rotterdam