Isheau Wong and her Rio Olympic Games partner Zadarijke V took top honors in the finale grand prix of CSI Aachen on Sunday, May 14, 2017.
The 28-year-old rider who represents Chinese Taipei topped a big entry list of over 50 pairs in the €25,360 Ashford Farm Grand Prix, which was held in the Deutsche Bank Stadium on the famed CHIO Aachen, Germany grounds. Last year the organizers of CSI Aachen brought show jumping to Aachen’s sand arena for the first time, and the 2017 edition saw increased entries and a week of pleasant spring weather.
Wong, who had the fortune of going last in the eight-rider jumpoff, stood at the ingate as a succession of riders jumped clear over the short course.
“My trainer [Vincent Voorn] was getting very nervous, because it wasn’t a very technical jumpoff, so he thought everyone would be super fast and the people in front would have a few rails down. But everyone seemed to be going clear so he told me to just flat out go for it.”
That’s exactly what she did, and it paid off with a blistering time of 38.84 seconds. Despite the tendency of her 13-year-old KWPN mare (San Remo x Havidoff) to sometimes get flat over the verticals, all the jumps stayed in the cups, giving Wong an easy win over 2nd placed finishers from Great Britain, Mark Bunting and Brennergraf, who finished in 40.94 seconds. Germany’s Vanessa Borgmann and Caspar 227 were 3rd in 41 seconds flat, and American rider Lucas Porter placed 4th with Diamonte Darco in 41.15 seconds. Japan rounded out a very international top 5, with Hikari Yoshizawa and Conrato.
Wong, who gave Zadarijke V a long break after last August’s Rio Olympics, was happy to come away with a win at CSI Aachen. Every rider on the grounds feels something different about competing at such a hallowed site, and it made the accomplishment that much more memorable.
See the complete results of the Ashford Farm Grand Prix here.