Knokke-Heist, Belgium – July 10, 2022 – Five-hundred thousand euros and eternal glory: these were the stakes in the grand finale of Knokke Hippique 2022. The Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*, presented by Audi was truly an event to remember. Fourteen of the world’s best 20 riders, including the entire top three, competed in Knokke-Heist. The public clearly didn’t want to miss a thing.
Although the competition only started at 2 p.m., the idyllic event site was already buzzing with excitement in the early morning. Thousands of horse fans and sports enthusiasts eagerly awaited the moment supreme.
A Challenging Course
The course by top Italian designer Uliano Vezzani was challenging. Halfway through the Grand Prix, only four riders had managed to break his code: Bernardo Alves (BRA & Mosito van het Hellehof, Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE) King Edward, Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) & Beauville Z and Christian Ahlmann (GER) & Mandato van de Neerheide.
In the second half of the competition it took some time for a new combination to clear the course. When Jessica Springsteen (USA) and the mare RMF Zecilie glided smoothly through the course it seemed like the sixth clear combination was a fact. Unfortunately their round turned out to be 4 hundreds of a second to smooth and they missed the jump-off.
Then the best horse in Olympic history galloped into the arena. H&M All In is a living legend with Belgian roots. The equally legendary Peder Fredricson (SWE) guided him through the course in impeccable fashion: the fifth clear round. Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER) and Do It Easy also joined the select group of jump-off contestants after a strong performance. But the home crowd was still waiting for a Belgian clear round. Their last chance: Jérôme Guery (BEL). Quel Homme de Hus calmly galloped into the arena, cleared jump after jump and yes! Finally! The crowd exploded in cheers! The seventh and last clear.
Banging music, the crowds on the tips of their toes: it’s Jump-off time. First up: Bernardo Alves (BRA) and Mosito van het Hellehof, a duo in exceptionally good shape. They won the first Grand Prix of Knokke Hippique CSI 3* and delivered a strong performance in the course. Yes: clear and fast!
Second combination: Henrik Von Eckermann (SWE) and King Edward. This Belgian horse that has often made his homeland proud, is very popular with the Knokke Hippique audience. But unfortunately: one down. Then it is up to the Netherlands. Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Beauville Z cleared jump after jump. No faults, but just a bit too slow to beat Bernardo.
Then H&M All In and Peder Fredricson (SWE) galloped into the Zoute Plage arena. There is just no stopping them? With a fast an immaculate performance they take the lead. But the next rider, Kendra Claricia Brinkop (GER), has clearly come to win. Do It Easy flies to the last Rolex oxer, but it was one jump to many. After an exceptional jump-off, she had to settle for 4 penalty points.
And then: icy silence interrupted by nervous cheering. Jérôme Guery (BEL) and Quel Homme de Hus enter the arena. The collective heart of the Belgian public is beating at lightning speed as the duo ride a perfect course. They race to the last Rolex oxer. But no! The rail drops to the ground.
The Rolex Grand Prix, presented by Audi, goes to the unbeatable Peder Fredricson and H&M All In.
Final Results – €500,00 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* presented by Audi
1) Peder Fredricson (SWE) & H&M All In – 0 / 0 – 44.09
2) Bernardo Cardose de Resende Alves (BRA) & Mosito van het Hellehof – 0 / 0 – 44.23
3) Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) & Beauville Z – 0 / 0 – 44.70
Source: Press Release (edited) from Knokke Hipique
Photo: © Knokke Hippique / Sportfot