Harrie Smolders (NED) and his impressive stallion Don VHP Z added another serious class win to their season tally, winning the fast paced CSI5* S.Oliver Vienna Masters in style on the final day of competition in Austria. Fresh from their Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Rome win last weekend, the formidable combination wiped the floor with the opposition, finishing the second round in 33.71s, almost a second ahead of the rest of the field.
The 1.55m two round class saw 29 contenders take on the tough Frank Rothenberger course, with many top riders picking up faults all over the track. Legends Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and John Whitaker (GBR) were unable to progress through to the second round, and as the action unfolded it became clear the speed round would be a case of fast pace and scopey accuracy.
A total of eight riders jumped clear, with Daniel Deusser (GER) and Equita van’t Zorgvliet, Bertram Allen (IRL) and Izzy By Picobello, Andreas Kreuzer (GER) with Stalido, Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) with Caspar 232, Danielle Goldstein (ISR) with Caspar 213 and Marc Houtzager (NED) with Sterrehof’s Calimero earning their place in the jump-off like round. Quickest of the field was Denis Lynch (IRL) with Campino 344, who blasted round clear in 73.89s, earning himself pole position for the next phase to come.
The second round featured longer distances, encouraging riders to allow the horses to open up between fences. Delicate 1.55m vertices and substantial oxers required forethought and balance from the horses. With all the action and drama of a jump-off the horses and riders galloped the distances, thrilling the watching spectators as the times started to tumble. Andreas Kreuzer (GER) put up a strong fight, but had to settle with third overall, and Rio Olympic contender Emanuele Gaudiano rode Casper with flair and daring, settling for silver overall. Harrie and Don VHP Z ate up the ground with the large striding horse able to make short work of the long distances – agile in the turns and brave with their striding, the combination flew around the track, stopping the clocks at an impressive 33.71s to the delight of the crowd. Final rider to enter the ring Denis had two fences down, leaving Harrie with the win which he celebrated in emphatic style.
LGCT press release