Vejer de La Frontera, Spain – February 19, 2022 – Leopold Van Asten (NED) is a very well regarded Dutch rider who was part of the 2004 Olympic games in Athens and has competed in numerous World Cups and World Championships and also took part in the Finals of the Nations Cup team in 2018, in Barcelona. He is currently ranked 100th in the FEI Longines Rankings. He had an impressive win on Saturday in the very demanding Small Grand Prix CSI 4*, that was kindly sponsored by Frans Wijlaars. This Olympic Dutch rider adds today’s victory to his win yesterday in the Longines Ranking class with ‘VDL Groep Urane de Talma.’
Leopold was riding the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood, grey gelding who he has had for a very long time, ‘VDL Groep Falco’ (Clearway xJalisco B’). Their established partnership was clear even in the first round of this very demanding class. ‘The course wasn’t particularly big or difficult but it needed a horse that really didn’t want to touch a pole.’ With a cracking clear in the first round, he was one of the favourites to win the class.
Leopold Van Asten (NED) received his trophy from the sponsor of this class, Frans Wijlaars, which was very fitting as the two are good friends and it was clear that they were very happy with the results! Frans Wijlaars is the owner of the Dutch company that builds and conditions equestrian arenas and who was vital in the development of the grass arenas 16 and 17, here at the Andalucía Sunshine Tour. Leopold has had a great second week here as he won the Medium Tour 1.45m Longines Ranking class just yesterday with ‘VDL Groep Urane de Talma’ and also was third with ‘VDL Groep Nino de Roton’ in the Big Tour 1.45m.
The public stands were full today and the atmosphere was very exciting as he entered the arena in the jump off. At that moment, the Spanish rider Iván Serrano Sáez (ESP) was in the lead in with a time of 34.51 seconds aboard Rain Man but the Dutch rider was faster in the 180 turn back into the double and took no pulls into the last fence, in the end he stopped the clock in just 34.11 seconds and no-one after him, could match that time.
This meant that the Spanish rider, Iván Serrano Sáez (ESP) took a very well deserved second place with the lovely ‘Rain Man’ (Chacco-Blue x Pilot).
In third place with a time of 34.70 seconds, it was Swiss rider, Thibaut Keller (SUI) with ‘Arley de Vayrie’ (‘Padock du Plessis x Quite Easy); fourth French rider Pierre Alain Mortier (FRA) with ‘Just Do It R’ (‘Action-Breaker x Baloubet de Rouet’ and in fifth place was Jeremy Sweetnam (IRL) with ‘Brown Star Z’ (Big Star JR K Z x Numero Uno).
Final Results – €26,700 Frans Wijlaars Small Grand Prix CSI 4*
1) Leopold van Asten (NED) & VDL Groep Falco – 0 / 0 – 34.11
2) Iván Serrano Sáez (ESP) & Rain Man – 0 / 0 – 34.51
3) Thibaut Keller (SUI) & Arley de Vayrie – 0 / 0 – 34.70
Source: Press Release (edited) from the Sunshine Tour
Photos: © Moises Basallote Fotografia / Ahmed 44 Photography