Daniel Deusser in all simplicity!
Of the 40 competitors theoretically allowed to start, only 36 jumped and some big scores were reached. However, in the end it was Marlon Zanotelli who was unlucky. The Brazilian rider completed a magnificent round on the lovely Virtuose d'Eole (Panama Tame) but unfortunately, they had the stopwatch to contend with, and ended up with a single time penalty... and the first not to be ranked!
Ahead of them, twelve riders qualified for the jump-off but things got off to a bad start for Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen, the Norwegian rider, on Chaloubet (Balou du Rouet) who could do nothing to avoid two faults. Things didn’t go much better for James Wilson, of the UK, on Imagine de Muze (Nababab de Rêve), nor for the Léopold van Asten, of the Netherlands, on VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco Blue) who ended up with one fault each.
We had to wait for Wilm Vermeir to witness the first double clear round, but there was a strong sense that the Belgian rider still had enough in reserve with his simmering mount, IQ van het Steentje (Toulon). He'll have to hold on now! 45''16, first reference time.
Christian Kukuk maneuvered well and made up his mind to secure a few points for the World Cup final with Quintino (Quinton). The German rider from Beerbaum’s Stables successfully negotiated all the boulevards to ensure a quiet and perfect 48''45!
It was a wise decision because the jump-off was amazing with only the last straight allowing riders to take out a stride, while all other distances required the riders to wait. Anyone who wanted to take a risk were directly penalized like the magnificent Olivier Philippaerts with Legend of Love (Landzauber) but by a single fault, and just like Harrie Smolders on the lovely Monaco (Cassini II) or Julien Epaillard on Queeletta (Quality).
This is where Pius Schwizer’s foresight worked miracles. After a poor start in the first round with Cortney Cox (Carlo), he managed the second round without forcing his little chestnut too much. Guiding her brilliantly towards a double clear round in 44''02, he allowed her to take the best option towards an incredible podium place. This was especially remarkable given that Jos Verlooy, the very in-form Belgian rider, also wanted to do his very best and two bars would confirm his jump-off with Igor (Emerald van't Ruytershof), right after a very fast jump-off but with a fault by Emmanuele Gaudiano and Chalou (Chacco Blue).
So, there was only one man left to interfere... but what a man! Daniel Deusser, rider at the Stephex stables, is really at home here in Mechelen. This competition is always co-organised by his in-laws, not far from his owner's house... one of so many factors that make this place even more special for the German rider. Riding the young Killer Queen VDM (Eldorado v. Zeshoek), Double D remained very calm, tightening his turns... and putting his foot on the gas down the last straight! The script was perfect: 41''37, and undoubtedly the best man won!
6 years after Cornet d'Amour, it was now the turn of Killer Queen VDM, none other than the daughter of the Olympian Derly Chin, to allow the former World No. 1 to win the Belgian World Cup stage for the second time.
"Comparing two victories is very difficult, especially since the first one was given to me by Cornet d'Amour. He’s been the best horse of my career so far, my first real championship horse... he represents so many things. Killer Queen is still very young. The mare was bought by Stephan Conter when she was 7. She won a lot of young horse events and then progressed to 1m45, 1m50 and 1m55... and this is only the beginning for her at this level. She’s a horse that I love and in which I have so much hope for the future... maybe she will take the place of Cornet d'Amour. We'll see!
This victory really puts me back on track for the World Cup final in Las Vegas. It's amazing because at the beginning of the season, I had really set it as my goal. Then just a few weeks ago, I asked myself if I shouldn't just give up on this circuit, having not scored many points in the first stages. After this victory, the cards have been reshuffled... but it's the beginning of an Olympic year and we’re going to be thinking about our objectives with Tobago, Jasmien and Killer Queen and take stock." Daniel Deusser explained calmly.
Stephan Conter, his boss, couldn’t conceal his joy along the track: "My policy has always been to buy good 6 and 7-year-old horses. Every year, we buy about 40 horses from each generation. We sell some of the good horses to our customers and we try to keep some very good ones for ourselves. I think this system has proven itself and works well, and Killer Queen is still a good example like so many others before her."
Wilm Vermeir was the first to complete the double clear and finally won a nice third place in this World Cup: "It's wonderful. I’ve been coming here for many, many years. I’ve taken part in every possible event, starting with the LRV events, then the breeding events, from the young stallions to the Sires, the two-star where I won the Grand Prix twice and now this World Cup podium place. I'm really happy because it was my competition from the outset, I always had good results... then my luck turned. I ended up always getting a fault somewhere, so it's good to see my luck come back again. To be honest, I haven't quite followed my plan here. To start with I tightened my turns a little bit... but I soon realized that it was going to be difficult with IQ, so I said to myself, "Wilm, stay calm" and I wanted to make sure I was perfect. In the end, I was happy with the double clear but I wasn’t bursting with joy because there were twelve of us at the jump-off. So I said to myself, "with a time like that, if you're 5th or 6th, it's already very good". So obviously at the end of the day, being on the podium makes me really very happy. However, at the exit of the track, I wasn't so happy that I threw my helmet in the air. This third place offers us some good prospects but before I get too excited, I really want to discuss it with our Chef d’équipe and Niels Bruynseels. If they both say to me, "Wilm, you’ve got a chance of going to the final, so go for it", then I’ll really do everything I can to live up to this first experience. In fact, it's a bit like Daniel Deusser, in Verona, I won 7th place in our first World Cup of the season and I said to myself "We're going to go to Vegas" and then the next two, the horse jumped well... but we made a mistake and we didn’t score a point, so we said to ourselves it's over!
IQ has all the abilities for this kind of competition but he's a bit too hot and sometimes I’m lacking a little bit of control. It’s been a long season but I'm lucky to have three horses who can jump these events. IQ unfortunately was out of competition for 9 weeks. He had a long break and is back now quite fresh and available. So we’ll see what the possibilities are for the rest of the season."