Grimaud, France – October 10, 2021 – It was the Belgian national anthem which resounded in the Var sky this Sunday at Grimaud, Grégory Wathelet (BEL), riding Edesa’s Basantos, won the €100,000 Grand Prix CSI 4* at the Hubside Fall Tour. Over a 1.55m track the Belgian rider rode two perfect rounds demonstating proof yet again of his talent.
With a CSI 4* on the programme, the Grimaud château as a backdrop and a bright sunny day, the afternoon’s sport had everything going for it. A course of 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts awaited the 43 riders and their horses at the start of this Sunday’s Grand Prix. Designed with skill by Frenchman Grégory Bodo (FRA), the course looked tricky and selective right from the outset. “At Grimaud, you have to bring horses both technically and mentally ready,” explained one of the World’s best course designers. “I was able to watch the horses and riders over the first days and I must say that they all were jumping well. I’d built some tricky courses but not necessarily very big ones. I was inspired by this to design today’s. It is built in three parts, the first part is quite technical with obstacles that arrive quickly, then very open in the middle before getting tighter at the end. It’s a real 4* test, following the FEI recommendations as it’s a qualifying event for next year’s World Championships.” No less than that!
Third to enter the ring, Germany’s Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) rode an impressive round in 38”19, propelling her into the lead. The final outcome of this Grand Prix came when it was the turn of her neighbour, Belgium’s team bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
As the last rider to go in the jump-off, Grégory Wathelet (BEL), riding Edesa’s Basantos, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. he crossed the finishing line 54 hundredths of a second faster (37’65), taking victory to a huge applause from spectators.
Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER), associated with Kastelle Memo, an 11-year-old bay mare, already 4th in Friday’s 1.50m Grand Prix, was hopeful right to the end that she’d done enough but finally had to be satisfied with second place.
A 100% Belgian podium as Jos Verlooy (BEL) completed the top trio with Luciano van het Geinsteinde, registering no penalties in 41.31 seconds during the tiebreaker.
“Edesa’s is a horse I don’t usually ride” explained the winner of the day. “He belongs to one of my students, I’ve just got him for a few shows.
The main goal was to get him going again, I just wanted to do a Grand Prix so that he’ll really be ready for when his owner gets him back. He’s an experienced horse who’s used to this height, he always behaves very well. I knew the jump-off was going to be close, there were a lot of us and the first to go especially Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) was very fast. But I saw the possibility of taking a stride off at the last jump. No one else before me did it, the distance did strike me as being very long, but he has a huge stride so I did it and that’s where we made the difference. The first round was a good 4* level, tricky but still approachable, especially for young riders and horses for whom these classes are a stepping stone to 5* classes. I’m remaining here next week so hope to do a repeat performance, even if it’s with a different horse.”
Final Results – €100,000 Hubside Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Gregory Wathelet (BEL) & Edesa’s Basantos – 0 / 0 – 37.65
2) Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) & Kastelle Memo – 0 / 0 – 38.19
3) Jos Verlooy (BEL) & Luciano van het Geinsteinde – 0 / 0 – 41.31
Source: Press Release by Juliette Gorin / Aliénor de La Rochefoucauld / Anchor Equitation for Hubside Jumping Grimaud
Photos: © Sportfot