Followed by Epaillard, Will had to bite his nails while watching from the warm-up but when even the French speed-machine had to settle in 0.03 seconds behind the chances of a German win were increasing. “Actually, I thought Julien was faster than me, but then he was just a tiny bit slower,” Will said.
With Constant Van Paeschen and Vendetta Treize (Diamant de Semilly x Eiger I) entering the ring as last to go, Will was anxiously watching – would it be enough for the victory? With the crowds cheering him on, Van Paeschen made a daring run to the final upright – crossing the finish line in the exact same time as Will.
“I warmed up in the ring that is a bit further away from the arena, as I usually do, so I was not busy with what was going on,” Van Paesschen explained. “I asked my dad to watch a bit for me though. As I came down to the arena, I saw Julien going to the last upright. I thought that he was so quick, so when he was slower than David I realized that they were going proper fast. My dad advised me to go for a third place, but I saw a long distance to the first jump and thought to myself ‘Let’s keep going like this!’ Then the crowd also helped to the last, and I just prayed to make it and that the pole would stay in the cups!” the Belgian rider smiled.
Both riders were delighted with their performances and their horses. “I can very well settle for a split win with Constant here today!” Will smiled. “Forest Gump is such a clever horse,” Will said. “He is unbelievably fast, and wins a lot of classes. He is a small horse, but with a huge heart!” Van Paesschen was also full of praise for Vendetta Treize, saying: “I’m delighted with my horse, it’s the first time I ride him in a three-star Grand Prix. He has been showing on the Global Tour-circuit and done a lot of good things, but it’s always special to win a Grand Prix!”
The Autumn MET will now be taking a one-week break, and resume with the second part of the Tour that runs from 29th of October to 17th of November 2019.
More information, start and result lists, as well as live streaming from the competitions, can be found on http://metoliva.com/en/