Tétouan, Morocco – October 07, 2023 – A double double for Simon Delestre (FRA), who had won the same €52,600 Prix de Dakhla CSI 4*-W last year, and who repeated this victory on Saturday evening in Tetouan with Olga van de Kruishoeve… with whom he triumphed the day before in the Prix de La Marche Verte. All’s well for Lorrain in Morocco!
The 4* day began with a Belgian double, Cyril Cools and Charlotte Philippe, in the Prix Tanger-Med, a speed class on a course that was more technical than galloping, in front of a big crowd as always at weekends in Tetouan – the advantage of this beautiful Royal Guard facility in the heart of this Mediterranean city. The courses here are designed by Gregory Bodo, who will be designing the Olympic courses in Paris next year. The Morocco Royal Tour riders are taking full advantage of this opportunity.
That’s certainly the opinion of Simon Delestre, winner of the day’s star event, the Prix de Dakhla CSI 4*-W, a 1.50 m event with jump-off that counts towards the world rankings: “For me, Greg is one of the best course designers on the international circuit, and it’s great to have him here. He’s a friend of mine and lives ten kilometers from me – maybe that’s an advantage (laughs). We’re used to working together a lot, and he’s got that subtle touch that makes all the difference. He knows how to build courses with finesse according to the horses at the start, and we’re never disappointed”.
It was the second victory of the weekend for the French rider with Olga van de Kruishoeve, his Belgian mare who never ceases to surprise him: “As I said yesterday, she’s a mare on whom we have high hopes, but until now, although we didn’t have too many doubts about her capacity, the speed factor was a parameter we didn’t know. Now I can see that she’s a very fast mare on the ground, I can always move forward in the obstacles and she holds herself. She’s the kind of horse that doesn’t trample and doesn’t overheat, so she’s faster than the others and you can really push them to the limit. And yet, it’s never easy to win a jump-off when you’re the first to start, with no bearings, so what was the plan? “I played as if I’d come last in what would have been a very fast jump-off. When there are ten horses behind you, you either play placed or try to win. I chose the latter option because, to be honest, I’m trying to keep my points to stay in the Top 10 with a view to Geneva (where the Top 10 final takes place in December) and as I won this Prix de Dakhla last year, I had no choice but to win tonight”!
Will we see Simon Delestre (FRA) in the same position again tomorrow in the Grand Prix? “I never make that kind of prediction. Olga has already had a fantastic competition, and she gave a lot yesterday and today. Tomorrow, she’ll be a little sorer because she’s still a young mare. Jumping her three days in a row will give her stamina, but I don’t know if she’ll be as fresh. But she’s a mare with a lot of reserves”.
The answer is this Sunday at around 7 pm. (European time) at the end of the Grand Prix, the highlight of this first beautiful leg of the Morocco Royal Tour 2023.
Final Results – €52,600 Prix de Dakhla CSI 4*-W
1) Simon Delestre (FRA) & Olga van de Kruishoeve – 0 / 0 – 46.05
2) El Ghali Bouka (MAR) & Ugolino du Clos – 0 / 0 – 47.06
3) Mehdi Roessli-Dobjanschi (SUI) & Eden van Pottelberg – 0 / 0 – 48.92
Source: Press Release from Agence R&B Presse for Morocco Royal Tour
Photos: © R&B Presse / Adèle Renauldon