Valkenswaard, The Netherlands – July 10, 2021 – It was a day full of fierce young female talent as Kim Emmen (NED) took the first CSI5* win of the day on Warriors Glory followed by Evelina Tovek (SWE) who cruised to the top of the leaderboard in the 1.55m CSI5* speed class with the huge striding Winnetou de la Hamente Z.
Tovek (SWE) clinched her first victory of the weekend with the exceptionally fast gelding Winnetou de la Hamente Z. The clears were hard to come by in a highly competitive speed class this afternoon on the stunning grass arena with only six combinations managing to keep all the fences up and inside the time. Many riders brought their top horses to this competition and the calibre of sport was second-to-none.
A beaming Tovek explained: “I have a lot of fun here at Tops International Arena, the grass arena is super and the horses really like it. I tried to just do my own thing and I can really use Winnetou’s canter and trust him.”
Smiling Evelina explained her thoughts on her trainer von Eckermann going last: “I was nervous because I know he can beat me. The horse is very very fast and of course he would never let me win!”
Some of show jumping’s brightest stars were early out of the starting blocks but the poles fell in the early rounds, demonstrating the high level of difficulty of this exciting class. Marlon Módolo Zanotelli (BRA) couldn’t continue his good form from recent weeks having three fences down with Obora’s Chloe. Simon Delestre (FRA) followed shortly after and similarly found challenges around the course, dropping two poles for 8 faults.
It was Harrie Smolders (NED) who produced the first clear with Bingo du Parc seeing a perfect stride to the tricky combinations and sailing around the course in a smooth 72.12 seconds but leaving the door open for the rest of the field.
Swedish superstar Malin Baryard-Johnsson (SWE) followed straight after taking it all in her stride on El Barone 111 Z and claimed the second clear of the class slipping into the lead for a short while as she stopped the clock a fraction faster than Smolders in 71.47 seconds.
Young talent Jordy van Massenhove (BEL) piloted Gaga E d’ Augustijn to a foot perfect round, sealing the third clear of the class in a quicker time of 69.10 seconds. They set off on a mission and took out strides where possible taking the lead at this stage. But Evelina Tovek (SWE) was hot on his heels, she got long into the Streetlight double but Winnetou de la Hamente Z was careful and produced a stylish clear round Uliano Vezzani’s testing track in 68.66s, a time no other combination could catch.
There was drama when Laura Klaphake (GER) had to do an extra turn to the third fence putting them straight out of contention of the win before it all fell apart and came home with a very unusual score of 19 faults. Julien Epaillard (FRA) had a surprise refusal with speed demon Usual Suspect d’Auge at the fence in front of the VIP building opting to retire and save the gelding for another day. It was also not to be Scott Brash’s (GBR) day, as he picked up an uncharacteristic 16 faults with Hello Shelby.
It looked like Ludger Beerbaum (GER) was set to take over the lead as he didn’t waste any time in the air and Cool Feeling flew round the expansive grass arena. But Ludger took the outside turn to the final fence that cost them crucial seconds and having to settle for third place overall in 70.55 seconds.
Last to go, yesterday’s winning combination and Tovek’s (SWE) trainer Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) set off at a flat out gallop but luck wasn’t on their side as they had they second part of the double down, they finished in the fastest time of 64.92s but with 4 faults on the board.
Final Results – €51,102 Speed Challenge CSI 5*
1) Evelina Tovek (SWE) & Winnetou de la Hamente Z – 0 / 68.66
2) Jordy Van Massenhove (BEL) & Gaga E d’ Augustijn – 0 / 69.10
3) Ludger Beerbaum (GER) & Cool Feeling – 0 / 70.55
Source: Press Release from TIA – Tops International Arena
Photo: © TIA – Tops International Arena