Photo © Hervé Bonnaud / www.1clicphoto.com.
Marc Bettinger (GER) took all the risk in Tuesday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour, and it paid off as the 38-year-old rider went off with the victory as well as the first prize of 10 000 Euro riding the KWPN gelding Barino (Larino x N-Aldato).
After rain comes sun goes the saying, and thankfully that proved true today at the Spring MET 2017. The Grand Prix – rescheduled from Sunday due to adverse weather conditions – finally got underway on Tuesday afternoon with 52 riders entered for the 1.45m competition set in the in the Valencia Arena. The Grand Prix had several top names on the start list, such as Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann (GER), Vincent Voorn (NED) and Constant Van Paesschen (BEL) – who all lined up to test their skills over twelve fence track set by Italy’s Elio Travagliati. Not surprisingly, they all made it on to a hot-contested jump-off – that in the end counted a total of twenty riders.
As first to go, Filippo Marco Bologni (ITA) set the time to beat at 39.36 seconds and the pressure was on those to come. Another six riders attempted the shortened track before Bologni was over-taken, and Nicolas Deseuzes (FRA) on the 13-year-old mare Quilane de Lezeaux (Grenat de Grez x Page de Paulstra) took over the lead with a fast and clear round in 36.65 seconds.
Five riders later, Bettinger entered the ring. The German rider was fast all the way, but it was his spectacular turn from the penultimate oxer – inside the lake – to the last fence that would secure him the win as he crossed the finish line on a time of 36.61 seconds.
“My horse is not super-fast of nature, so I knew I had to take some risk. When I came into the ring, I was thinking about the turn – but it looked like it would be quite short. But, the way Barino jumped the oxer I felt that I really had him with me, and he knew exactly what I wanted the moment I asked him to go inside there. It was my only chance to win, and it paid off,” Bettinger smiled after his fantastic jump-off.
Both Vincent Voorn and Constant Van Paesschen gave it a good try, but had to settle for fourth and fifth behind Deseuzes – while Emanuele Massimiliano Bianchi (ITA) slotted into second after a tremendous round as third-last-to-go on the 13-year-old mare Zycalin W (Berlin x Carthago). Only 0.02 seconds separated the Italian rider from the win, and another 0.02 from third placed Deseuzes after an incredibly tight competition.
Bettinger’s winning mount Barino – an 11-year-old gelding – has been in his stables for nearly a year, and is owned by Slovakian rider Radovan Sillo. “I took my time with Barino in the beginning, he did not have that much experience – and lately he has been doing quite well. Barino is a funny horse; he likes to be a bit the center of attention and he has a playful character. I really like him,” detailed Bettinger who also was fifth with the same horse in Monday’s 1.45m Longines Ranking class.
It’s quite a few years since Marc Bettinger last visited Oliva, and the German rider praised the improvements that has been made since. “I was here three or four years ago, and so much has happened since I was last here. It has developed into a beautiful show, with great facilities and a very good organization. I am impressed!”
Source: Press release from the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour