ph. Tiffany van Halle
Patrice Delaveau of France headlined Friday’s feature class at the Brussels Stephex Masters CSI5* in Belgium with Carinjo HDC.
The stakes are higher at this, the second edition of the Brussels Stephex Masters, as the competition dreamt up by Stephan Conter of Stephex Stables is rated CSI5* for the first time.
Top international riders are competing to qualify for Sunday’s CSI5* Grand Prix, and with large entry lists a win required very quick riding and a little bit of luck.
Case in point, Friday evening’s €35,000 Audi CSI5* 1.50m. The two-round class with jumpoff attracted 48 horse and rider pairs, among which a whopping 21 completed a clear Round 1. However, Delaveau pointed out that all the clear rounds were indicative of quality, rather than quantity.
“The first round wasn’t really big, it was a normal round,” he explained. “And with the quality of the horses and the riders here, it’s normal that there are so many clears.”
With a big weekend ahead, several riders chose to rest their horses rather than return for Round 2, which made for a starting order of 18 in the jumpoff. Delaveau rode the Hara des Coudrettes-owned Carinjo HDC, a 14-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Cascavalle x Landgraf I) to the win – but just barely. Steve Guerdat of Switzerland put Delaveau on notice when he went before the French rider in the jumpoff order, and laid down what looked to be an unbeatable time.
“I saw Steve go on the screen and he was really fast, so I knew I had to beat him,” Delaveau said. “I knew what I had to do, so I turned before a vertical where he did not, and I think I gained the time there.”
Delaveau clocked 37.00 seconds at the finish timers to Guerdat’s 37.78. And it wasn’t over yet; Morocco’s Abdelkebir Ouaddar rode Quickly de Kreisker to another speedy time, but the luck fell Delaveau’s way when Ouaddar crossed the timers just an eighth of a second slower.
“I thought Abdelkebir was going to beat me, but he was just barely not as fast, so I was really very lucky!” Delaveau added.
Delaveau plans to continue his weekend by competing Carinjo in the Sunday grand prix. He also has the talented Lacrimoso HDC with him this week; that mount will jump in Saturday’s feature class.
See complete results list of the €35,000 Audi CSI5* 1.50m at this link.