Jacques Helmlinger and Tonic des Mets top the CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Knokke-Heist at Knokke Hippique
In a five-horse jump-off, it was French rider Jacques Helmlinger and Tonic des Mets (Ogrion des Champs x Damoiseau d'Or) that snatched the win in the CSI3* Top Series Grand Prix presented by Knokke-Heist at Knokke Hippique Summer Circuit on Saturday night.
A challenging course waited for the horses and riders, with thirteen fences that included a combination and a triple combination. In the end, only five managed to answer all the questions asked – moving on to the jump-off under the lights where two pairs managed to repeat their clears from round one.
“It was a big Grand Prix course, and it was also very delicate,” explained the winner Jacques Helmlinger. “It was lightly build, and the triple combination was quite demanding coming out.”
First out against the clock was home rider Kelly Vandousselaere and Biarritz des Hauts Droits (Nabab de Reve x Renville), also in the jump-off in last weekend’s Top Series Grand Prix, but unfortunately a rail on jump no. three fell to the ground – eventually putting them fourth. Next in the ring, France’s Francois Xavier Boudant and Ciento (Viento Uno W x Holland) also had one down but were slightly faster to take over the lead. Brazil’s Felipe Amaral had to see three rails fall, putting him behind the first two.
Then it was time for Helmlinger. The French rider opted for a fast round, without taking all the risk – and it paid off with the first double clear of the Grand Prix in 46.45 seconds. As last to go, USA’s Georgina Bloomberg gave it a good shot on Crown 5 (Cassini I x Lord), but had to settle for runner-up position with her time of 47.05.
“In the jump-off I really wanted to go for the clear round, but still get a good time because Georgina was coming after me,” said Helmlinger about his tactics that helped secure the second French Top Series Grand Prix in the two weeks of the Summer Circuit. “My horse is 11-years now, and very consistent – he always does a good job.”
“The show here in Knokke is very, very, very nice – I have been here for two weeks and really enjoyed it!” concluded Helmlinger.
The Knokke Hippique Summer Cicuit concludes on Sunday 15th of July, also awarding the leading riders of the CSI3* Top Series, the CSI2* Super Cup and the CSI1* Prestige League.
Picture © Jeroen Willems