The Rolex Grand Prix "Vincenzo Muccioli Challenge" speaks Dutch tonight, with a truly stellar podium. The high point of the much anticipated final class of the CSI5* hosted and organized by the Rimini based Community, with a prize money totaling 220,0000 euro, was the triumph of Olympic rider Jeroen Dubbeldam on Bmc Quality Time Tn, with a double clear and 41.71".
Behind him the winner of team and individual silver at the 2005 European Championship here at San Patrignano, as well as an Olympic bronze medalist in Beijing, Switzerland's Christina Liebherr on L.B. Callas Sitte Z (0/0 and 43.35"). Canadian Eric Lamaze, individual gold and team silver at the Beijing Olympics and currently ranked third on the FEI Rolex world list, came in third on Coriana van Klapscheut (0/4 in 42.73").
"I chose to come to San Patrignano this weekend, above all the other important shows that were going on, because I feel at home here", explained the winner, "It's the twelfth time I come here, and I have had good results but had never before won the big prize".
Forty two horse and rider teams completed the course, and only three made it through to the jump off: Christina Liebherr, Jeroen Dubbeldam and Eric Lamaze. The course featured thirteen fences (for a total of sixteen jumps) designed by Dutchman Louis Konickx. The top three cantered into the jump off for a thrilling all-out effort. The first two went clear and Lamaze sadly had a knock down. The current Italian champ, Natale Chiaudani was the highest ranked "local" on Fixdesign Almero 12 with knockdown in the first round, leaving him in ninth place.
The first round course was very challenging, not only in terms of height and jump design, but also in terms of lines and distances. It was Liebherr, the twenty first rider to enter the arena, to hand in the first clean round to a roar of applause from the crowd.
The combination in the center of the arena was one of the fences that caused the most trouble, made up of a vertical, an oxer in the middle and another vertical on the exit facing the gate. The fences were built to look like greek temples, were quite monochromatic and had a lot of negative space, and the "spookiness" coupled with the tight distances claimed more than one victim.
The number three jump, an oxen decorated with Russian dolls and placed very close to the crowds, required strict attention as did the number six vertical which was placed on a turn where many riders chose to cut to save time, increasing the risk of a knockdown.
Source: Pressrelease from San Patrignano Press Office