Budapest, Hungary – May 21, 2023 – The featured event of the 2023 edition of the Budapest CSI 3*-W was the €57,500 Szerencsejáték Zrt. Grand Prix CSI 3*-W. In the jump-off challenge, riders could collect Longines World Jumping Ranking points and qualify for the European Championships to be held in Milan this year and for the 2024 Olympics.
Several Hungarian horse and rider pairs achieved the MER by completing a clear round. Gábor Szabó, Jnr. (HUN) on Chabala Mezőhegyes earned their third MER this time, and Ferenc Szentirmai, Jnr. (HUN) on Tailormade Carem Sandy, and András Kövy, Jnr. (HUN) on E-UP also moved one step closer to the Olympics, achieving the MER for second time.
The first course built by international course designer Werner Deeg (GER) severely tested the field, and from a field of 36 competitors only five, including three Hungarian pairs, managed to finish with a clear round. The jump-off put horse and rider to the test again as the obstacles that had previously caused the most problems for the riders had to be jumped again.
The first competitor, Latvian Kristaps Neretnieks (LAT) on Palladium KJV, set the bar high with a very fast clear, timed in 43.88 seconds for what turned out to be the winning performance.
Zoltán Czékus (HUN) followed the same tactics on Ricola with more success, fishing clear much to the delight of the spectators, registering what would be the only othe clean performance of the tiebreaker in 52,86 seconds, thus securing silver honors.
The last participant of the jump-off was András Kövy, Jnr (HUN). His horse, E-UP, lost a shoe during the warm-up before the first round and had to be refitted and then warmed up again. In the jump-off, the pair had already passed the third warm-up before the competition and knocked down two bars.
Christoph Obernauer (AUT) and Kleons Renegade had four penalty-points in the decisive round but were able to conquer bronze honors in 43.86 seconds.
The winners were congratulated by Melinda Schlezák, President of the International Jury, Zsófia Bánhegyi, Commercial Director of Szerencsejáték Zrt., Vilmos Lázár, President of the Hungarian Equestrian Federation, and Prof. Dr. Péter Sótonyi, Rector of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vice President of the Hungarian Equestrian Federation. The prizes of Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture were presented to the winners by Bachar Najari, owner of the manufactory.
Final Results – €57,500 Szerencsejáték Zrt Grand Prix CSI 3*-W
1) Kristaps Neretnieks (LAT) & Palladium KJV – 0 / 0 – 43.88
2) Czékus Zoltán (HUN) & Ricola (E. Disco) – 0 / 0 – 52.86
3) Christoph Obernauer (AUT) & Kleons Renegade – 0 / 4 – 43.86
Source: Press Release from the National Riding Hall / CSIO Budapest
Photos: © CSIO Budapest / lovasfoto.hu-Krisztina Hajdu