he highlight of Friday’s CSI5* competition at the exciting 2014 Athina Onassis Horse Show was the Prix Julius Baer. The only CSI5* competition of the day offered the long list of international stars to rest their Grand Prix horses and prepare for a competition competition sponsored by the one and only Julius Baer. The 1.45 course was difficult enough, seeing only 9 combinations qualify for the jump-off. Those included France’s Simon Delestre, Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts, Brazil’s Doda Miranda, Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat.
With fast combinations such as Penelope Leprevost riding Nice Stephanie and Hans-Dieter Dreher riding Embassy II, it was sure to be a fight to the end. Set later in the order, Belgium’s World No.17 Grégory Wathelet and his stallion Riesling du Monselet landed the winning time of 36.63 seconds, pushing Germany’s Hans-Dieter Dreher and Embassy II down to second place. In third position, 2006 World Champion, Jos Lansink (BEL) with Zerlin M with an impressive time of 37.57 seconds.
“I can only be happy. The horse was jumping well. It was a serious event, and there was very high level riders” said Wathelet. “Fortunately, the time was tight, which allowed a selection from the 1st round. I was lucky to go in the last riders of the jump-off. I could have some indications by watching the others. I went in front the start, the horse played along, I can only be satisfied with the result.”
“I’ve been riding him for about a year and a half. He has won a lot. He’s coming back to the high level after a resting period. He has done two or three 3 star level competition. Yesterday was his first big 5 star event (Prix de la Ville de Ramatuelle), where we ranked 7th. Today, he has shown that he’s back to the top and that he’s ready for the rest of the season.”