Rotterdam, The Netherlands – June 25th, 2023 – A thrilling finale to CHIO Rotterdam this afternoon. Dutch rider Willem Greve (NED) wowed the crowd with an all-or-nothing ride to win the €152,500 Longines Grand Prix of Rotterdam CSIO 5*. Last year’s winner in Rotterdam, Irish rider Daniel Coyle (IRL), came in second place. France’s Aurelien Leroy (FRA) completed the podium.
To say Greve was pleased with his victory in Rotterdam today would be an understatement. Immediately after clearing the last obstacle in the jump-off successfully, he rode a few extra laps around the arena to celebrate with the ecstatic crowd. ‘As riders we dream of winning in our home country, and to win a five star event. To be the winner here in front of a crowd like this is a dream come true.’
Greve’s victory was hard won, as 11 combinations came through the first round of the 1,60-meter jumping competition without any faults. Not only last year’s champion Daniel Coyle (IRL), but Dutch rider Sanne Thijssen (NED), the winner in 2021, also vied for the title.
Aurelien Leroy (FRA) and his stallion Croqsel de Blaignac were the first to start in the jump-off and rode a clear round in 44.26 seconds. Leroy: ‘I wanted to do two things: stay clear and set a fast time, and that’s what we did. This is only the second time I’ve entered a 5*-competition with this horse. He did great and I’m very happy with him.’
The three riders after Leroy could not avoid mistakes, but Daniel Coyle (IRL) found an ingenious short cut in the course by using a narrow ‘lane’ between obstacle 2 and the parked sponsor car. He and his mare Legacy stayed clear and cut nearly 3.5 seconds off of Leroy’s time to finish in 40.47 seconds.
As rider after rider either made a mistake or could not beat Coyle’s very quick time, it seemed like title prolongation was in the cards for him, until Willem Greve (NED) entered the arena. Greve: ’I saw the first two riders in the jump-off and then went back to the warm-up arena. I discussed my strategy with our chef d’equipe Jos Lansink who was also there: I could either go for a clear and smooth round but probably not beat Daniel, or I could try the all-or-nothing approach and really risk it all. That’s what we decided to do.’
Greve‘s bravery paid off. He used the same short cut in the course as Coyle and soared over the obstacles to set the winning time: 39.57 seconds. ‘Sometimes when you take this type of risk you lose, but today it went great.’ He praised his horse, the stallion Highway M TN. ‘He is just an unbelievable fighter. He is so eager sometimes that it can get hard to manage, but he already gave me a super feeling in the Nations Cup on Friday and he was very motivated today, as was I, and so we won.’
Daniel Coyle (IRL)was disappointed to not have won but proved himself a great sportsman. ‘Of course I’m not as happy as I was here last year. On Friday, we [the Irish team] lost to the Dutch, and now I’m second again after a Dutch man. That’s the way it has to be this year for me, it seems. Going into the jump-off I already knew Willem was a danger, he and his horse are very fast. Looking back at my ride in the jump-off, I’m not sure I could’ve gone any faster. And I already said it to my team before the jump-off: if Willem beats me here, he deserves it.’
Yves Houtackers, tournament director showjumping, was pleased with how this year’s jumping portion of the program came to a conclusion: ‘That jump-off was unbelievable, but I’m also happy with how the rest of the program played out. This year, we introduced the 2*-star jumping competition and it was a succes.’
Ron Voskuilen, CHIO director, was equally satisfied with this year’s edition of CHIO Rotterdam. ‘To have this kind of finale to five days of sports is great. We had a full stadium, and a vibrant atmosphere. Over a thousand people work to make this event possible, to see it all come together like this is everything we could ask for. Now, we celebrate today’s success, but after that we start looking forward to next year’s anniversary edition – the 75th CHIO Rotterdam.’
This concludes the 73rd edition of CHIO Rotterdam. Next year’s edition will take place from 22 – 25 June 2023.
Final Results – €152,500 Longines Grand Prix of Rotterdam CSIO 5* – 1.60m
1) Willem Greve (NED) & Highway M TN – 0 / 0 – 39.57
2) Daniel Coyle (IRL) & Legacy – 0 / 0 – 40.47
3) Aurelien Leroy (FRA) & Croqsel de Blaignac – 0 / 0 – 44.26
Source: Press Release by Anita Lussenburg for CHIO Rotterdam
Photos: © CHIO Rotterdam / Nils Boeser