arold Boisset & Quolita Z Ph. Herve Bonnaud/www.1clicphoto.com
Harold Boisset has been an unstoppable force at the Autumn Mediterranean Equestrian Tour 2016, and continued his winning ways in the CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Suzuki on Sunday, October 30th. Again it was the tiny 10-year-old Quolita Z (Quasimodo Z x Ramiro) that contributed to the win after a lightning fast jump off that nobody was close to matching.
The setting could not have been better for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Warm and sunny autumn weather brought out a large crowd that watched the 1.45m competition unfold in the big grass ring, perfectly prepared for the concluding class of week two at the Autumn MET.
Fifteen out of the 79 competitors qualified to compete over the shortened track set by Italian course designer Elio Travagliati. The design of the jump off track invited very tight turns to start and finally a long last stretch made to go flat out from the penultimate vertical to the last oxer. As ninth to go, Boisset blew the competition away with an incredibly fast round stopping the clock at 33.09 seconds.
”I think I got a very good turn from the first jump to the second,” Boisset said afterwards. “I also got a good jump into the combination mid-way, and although I decided to back her a bit up at the end of the stretch to the last oxer, this was the same for everybody. It seemed like none of us could find the perfect distance to that final fence, and all the riders made their horses come back a little there.”
The confidence was certainly there for Boisset, who came into Sunday’s competition with a CSI2* Grand Prix victory from week one as well as several other wins that have been collected during his two weeks in Oliva.
“In the jump off I was number nine to go out of the fifteen qualified, so I just decided to go for it,” Boisset detailed. “I am leaving Oliva tonight, and Quolita is either way going to get a rest after this so there was nothing to save up for. I also know she is totally able to win a class like this, so I wanted to try.”
It was mission accomplished for the 28-year-old rider, who now heads home from Spain with his top horses as arguably the most dominant rider at the venue this season.
“Quolita Z did a few five-star shows during the summer, and I took her to the Autumn MET to bring her a bit back down and let her breathe a little. I am leaving Oliva tonight, and Quolita will now get a rest before I take her to CSI3* Vermezzo and then I will make a plan from there,” Boisset commented.
Boisset’s departure might open the doors for other riders, such as Belgium’s Constant Van Paesschen who impressed with his second place finish on the the 8-year-old gelding Astro Boy (Sarantos x Guidam).
“Harold is very difficult to catch when he is clear,” said Constant who gave the jump off a strong effort but had to see himself a full second behind the winner. “My horse is only eight, and I am really delighted with the way he jumped. He is very fast on the ground but he still needs to learn to turn shorter.”
Van Paesschen has a strong string of horses coming up through the levels, and is excited to have several of his more inexperienced ones competing and developing at the Autumn MET.
“At the moment I have a very nice string of young horses from 5-years and upwards to 10. They are all great horses; but are either quite green or young – still they are all really interesting for my future,” Van Paesschen shared. “I am lucky that I have owners that also like the sport, and are not pushing too much to sell them. I also have a great team behind me, from riders to grooms – that helps a lot,” said the young Belgian rider who feels more than at home in Oliva.
“We are here a lot, my parents bought a very nice house here last year. For me, this is the best place to be. You can jump a ranking class with an 8-year-old, and they are not in the red and they don’t get scared. That is something fantastic I think. There is lots of space here, and we have the beach as well which I think is one of the nicest things about the show here.”
The Italians were strong in force in the Grand Prix with Filippo Tabarini claiming third and Riccardo Pisani, 4th. Great Britain’s Chloe Winchester rounded off the top spots in Sunday’s Grand Prix finishing 5th with Belle Fleur 38 (Berlin x Gran Corrado).
Full results here.