Niels Bruynseels wins again and again in Grimaud!
He is undeniably THE rider of the week, maybe even the rider of the YEAR! Belgian rider Niels Bruynseels wins (again) in Grimaud’s huge arena, in the fourth CSI5* Grand Prix of HUBSIDE JUMPING. In the saddle of Gancia de Muze (Malito de Reve), a horse that commentators increasingly describe as "the current best mare in the world", the fifteenth best rider in the international rankings came in ahead of his compatriot Jos Verlooy, the double Belgian Champion, who rode Igor (Emerald), and Italian Alberto Zorzi, who placed third on Vauban du Trio (Alezan Crins Laves). The best French rider, Olympic Team Champion Roger-Yves Bost, finished fifth on Sangria du Coty (Quaprice Bois Margot).
The pair is gradually writing their legendary history, and Grimaud's HUBSIDE JUMPING will undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful chapters in their history together. As winners of the Grimaud 4* Grand Prix last July, Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze continued their exceptional momentum by winning the fourth HUBSIDE JUMPING 5* Grand Prix. This Summer, the rider testified: "There are no words strong enough to describe Gancia. This mare is so incredible." But an incredible mare is unfortunately not much without an exceptional rider. And what a rider! Yesterday, Niels Bruynseels had already won the CSI3* Grand Prix with another mare, Frenchy Vds (Cornet Obolensky), and explained: "Tomorrow, I will ride Gancia de Muze for the 5* Grand Prix. I think the course will be tricky, technical and have a rather tight time, but Gancia is incredible and she has already won a lot. Tomorrow, I will have to apply myself to ride well (laughs)!" The Bruynseels/Gancia combination started in 2015, when the mare was nine years old. Since then, they have won, believe it or not, seven 5* Grands Prix! Knokke, 's-Hertogenbosch, Brussels twice, Cannes... and now Grimaud: nothing can stop them!
At the end of the first round, fourteen combinations had qualified for the 1.60m Grand Prix jump-off, designed by French course designer Cédric Longis. Like the previous HUBSIDE JUMPING Grand Prix, the list of jump-off contenders showed that it was going to be a suspense-filled final. No less than ten nations were represented, two reigning Olympic Team Champions, one reigning European Team Champion; Ireland's Denis Lynch, winner of the same Grand Prix last week, the World No. 2 Martin Fuchs... And of course, the winner of yesterday's 3* Grand Prix, Niels Bruynseels... in short, the heavy hitters; a spectacle seemed assured.
Italian rider Alberto Zorzi, who started at the beginning of the jump-off, took the lead with a time of 40.37 seconds. While Roger-Yves Bost, in the saddle on Sangria du Coty, came back in 41.41 seconds, and Belgian Gudrun Patteet finished faster, but had a rail on Sea Coast Peebles Z, while Irishman Denis Lynch stopped the clock in 41.26 seconds: one could think the Italian was well on his way to victory. Would the combinations then manage to finish the jump-off under the forty-second mark, without a rail? The question was quickly settled. Gancia de Muze and Niels Bruynseels turned in a perfect jump-off in 39.70 seconds, and none of the next seven competitors managed to catch them. With a time of 41.61 seconds, Austrian Max Kühner in the end finished in seventh place, just behind German Daniel Deusser, who came sixth with Tobago Z (41.58 seconds). Christian Ahlmann, Martin Fuchs, Henrick von Eckermann and Kevin Staut had four faults each. Before the last pair entered the arena, the victory was assured to be Belgian. Jos Verlooy, who was in pursuit with his mount, Igor, made the Bruynseels clan tremble... but they finally finished in 40.28 seconds, almost half a second behind his compatriot. The fourth 5* HUBSIDE JUMPING 2020 Grand Prix ended with a Belgian double.
Niels Bruynseels: "Gancia always knows what she has to do, and she likes to win. All I have to do is ride well! She was still jumping well today, and she gave me the feeling that she was jumping this course and this jump-off with a lot of ease and desire. Gancia is naturally fast, she knows the game. She knows that this is Grand Prix and she strives to be the best. We have a long history together. We have a very special connection she and I. In fact, in the first round, I didn't really watch the other riders. I don't rely too much on others when I ride Gancia because she doesn't work like any other horse. I know how I should ride her from the moment I've walked the course. She's a mare with a lot of character. At home, she always prefers to be on her own and quiet. She doesn't like to work on the flat, so we take her out a lot. My team and I try to do everything for her on a daily basis. Everything is done so that she has the best of everything. She’s the princess; the stable Number 1, and she knows it!"
After a short break of one week, the Grimaud’s Haras des Grillons arena will once again welcome the best riders of the international circuit for two CSI4* events, from October 8 to 11, then from October 15 to 18, for the end of this season in the Var region.