Europe triumphs once again and remains undefeated in the Riders Masters Cup!
At the end of the first round, Europe lead 30 to 40. Therefore, the beginning of the second round was crucial for victory, and the two linchpins were set to compete: McLain Ward with Rapidash (Chaqui Z) challenging Pius Schwizer... but the Swiss strategist left Cortney Cox (Carlo 300) in the stable and chose to ride Ulane Belmanière (Muriesco du Cotentin) instead. The American may have come out of the ring with a beautiful clear round, but Europe was just taking off.
She flew around the course so well that Edward Levy also changed his mount between the two rounds. After winning his duel with Rebecca LS, he came back with Starlette de la Roque (Jumpy des Fontaines), and despite a fault that cost him three penalty seconds, he attacked hard and put so much a pressure on Devin Ryan that the American left the ring with two faults.
The Americans were on the precipice, but Lilly Keenan succeeded in winning the first American duel of the second round with a quick clear round on Chaccolette (Chacco Blue) against Olivier Philippaerts, who could not avoid taking a pole with Insolente des Dix Bonniers (Winningmood).
Things got even more complicated for Europe when Darragh Kenny, mindful of knocking a pole, asked a little too much of Sweet Tricia (Berlin)... stopping on a very tight turn! "I think she's a very good horse for the future, but I've only ridden her in two competitions... we don't know each other very well yet... But when I felt her stop, I told her "Don't put me on the ground or I'll really be in a bad mood"... but all’s well, that ends well. " said the Irishman.
His opponent, Laura Chapot was eliminated at the wall in the first round, and her mount Chandon Blue (Chacco Blue) didn’t seem too convinced to go back there... but he finally jumped the obstacle., The American took her time though... managing to go slower than the Irishman!
Europe won this duel of the Riders Masters Cup... but there was still one pair left to go. The two riders each did their best, but Harrie Smolders brought home another European victory.
Young Frenchman Edward Levy was very happy after his second victory in the Riders Masters Cup: "Yes, especially as I’ve won all my duels so far. I’d planned to jump the first round with Rebecca and then switch to Starlette, who I have been saving for several weeks because I knew she was going to have a busy and important Saturday here. She finished 4th in the 1.50m event this afternoon and won her duel, it's a beautiful day!"
It was also a wonderful day for the team Europe Captain, Philippe Guerdat, who maintained his unbeaten streak. "I’m happy because we managed to really create a team throughout the weekend. We went to the reception on Thursday, then we all ate together. My riders really played the game by putting their Grand Prix horses up for the event. I had my pick of the riders present; I could have chosen people who win a lot of events, like Emmanuel Gaudiano, or a very good rider like Wilm Vermeir. But on the one hand, I wanted to select just the one rider from each nation, and on the other hand, I was privileged to have guys who I know well, who are real team players and keep the pressure on in this kind of event.
I think today, the most motivated team has won! When I saw that the USA had put McLain first so that he could go and help the other riders later, I thought I needed a safe combination. Pius is one of those and I saw his debut with Ulane, who I already loved a lot. Yesterday, she jumped well and was much more elastic than in the past... So for me, it was an obvious choice, especially since McLain's horse was not very fast. I think that was the turning point that made us win the event today, especially since after that, we had as many match points as we needed in hand... even if we took a few poles. Despite my age, I like to give young people a chance, and that was the case tonight with Darragh Kenny who is a great rider. I think this Riders Masters Cup has real potential. For the sake of the event, it's true that it would have been nice if the USA won... but then we'll have to change the European team leader because it’s obvious that I don't like losing!"