Paris, France – March 19, 2023 – The history of the Saut Hermès is forever entwined with that of Luxembourg thanks to Victor Bettendorf (LUX), who has added his name to the prestigious list of winners of the €400,000 Hermès Grand Prix CSI 5*. Teamed up with Mr. Tac (Non Stop x Toulon), he has won the thirteenth edition of the CSI 5* against the world’s elite riders.
The thirteenth edition of the Saut Hermès proved to be a lucky one for the Luxembourgeois rider Victor Bettendorf (LUX). Up against thirteen other horse and rider pairings qualified for the jump-off, the World No.35 was the quickest today, timed in 32.08 seconds. It was quite an achievement for this 32-year-old rider, who first performed in the Talents Hermès a decade ago and was making his debut in this year’s CSI 5* at the Saut Hermès.
“I can’t really get my head round it, smiles Victor. I’ve always wanted to return to the Saut Hermès, but I never believed I’d win the Grand Prix! I’d have been proud just to ride well in this class. However, going clear in the first round, doing well in the jump-off and winning is just incredible! A competition like the Saut Hermès is something I’ll remember my whole life. It’s the finest victory of my career, by far. The work has paid off, as has the team that’s pulled out all the stops to make sure it all runs smoothly. Mr. Tac is my favourite horse. I was already riding him when he was 6 and 7 years old, plus he’s a horse born of a breeder from Luxembourg. I found him two years ago, thanks to the Mégret family, who made it possible for me to ride him. It’s a wonderful story.”
“I’m really thrilled, admits Geneviève Mégret. We bought this horse last year on the advice of Victor, who knew him and really loved him. We’d hoped he was going to make progress with him, and he’s certainly done that. It’s not easy to reach the selections when you’re from Luxembourg. We had to move up through the ranks, so today’s performance is a fantastic reward!”
For his first victory in the Grand Prix 5*, the rider from Luxembourg finishes ahead of Dutch rider Harrie Smolders (NED) on Monaco NOP (Casini II x Contender) World No.5, the double reigning champion of the World Cup final in Barcelona, rode the second best course in 32.76 seconds.
Belgian rider Wilm Vermeir (BEL) completed the top trio paired with IQ Van Het Steentje (Toulon x Kannan), registering no penalties in 33.36 during the tiebreaker.
This course was designed by the dynamic duo who will create the course for the future Paris Olympics in 2024, Spaniard Santiago Varela Ullastres and Frenchman Grégory Bodo, which has officiated at the Saut Hermès since 2018. “It’s always incredible to work here, at this venue and with this atmosphere, explains Santiago. The riders did a great job and the horses jumped very well. That was my goal. Victor got his weekend off to a great start on Friday by winning the first class of this edition. Today, his jump-off was very quick. He timed the two complicated bends to perfection. At the end of their course, the horses were relaxed. That’s what I love to see. I’m very happy.”
Final Results – €400,000 Saut Hermès Grand Prix CSI 5*
1) Victor Bettendorf (LUX) & Mr. Tac – 0 / 0 – 32.08
2) Harrie Smolders (NED) & Monaco N.O.P. – 0 / 0 – 32.76
3) Wilm Vermeir (BEL) & Iq van het Steentje – 0 / 0 – 45.99
Source: Press Release (edited) from Saut Hermès
Photos: © Saut Hermès / Christophe Tanière
Categories: CSI 5*, English, Jumper News France