The 2019 edition of Knokke Hippique is into its third week of competition, and on Saturday evening it was time for the Top Series CSI3* Grand Prix presented by Henders & Hazel.
Set at 1.55m in the Zoute Plage, the Grand Prix track was built by world class course designer Frank Rothenberger (GER) and counted thirteen fences including a triple combination as well as a double as the very last challenge. Thirteen horse-and-rider combinations mastered the track, moving on to the jump-off under the floodlights – and with seven of them being Belgian the home crowds had plenty to cheer for.
First to go clear against the clock was Bertram Allen (IRL) on GK Casper (Canto 16 x Quantum), who crossed the finish line in a time of 36.98 seconds – putting some serious pressure on those to come. Two riders later, Zoe Conter (BEL) and Dolitaire Chavannaise (Cicero Z x Voltaire) delivered the second clear of the jump-off but were behind Allen in 38.34.
Home hero Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) and Katanga vh Dingeshof (Cardento 933 x Tornedo Fcs) gave it a very good shot, and despite a small hiccup in the turn to the wall that was set as the penultimate fence they were 0.02 seconds faster than Allen after going flat out to the last jump – taking over the lead.
After his winning streak last week, Dominique Hendrickx (BEL) was back at it. Fresh from their victory in Friday’s 1.50m world ranking competition, the Belgian rider and the 12-year-old stallion Castor vh Molenhof Z (Catoki x Richebourg) delivered again with a clear round in 36.06 seconds – pushing Philippaerts down to runner-up position.
None of those to come could better Hendrickx, who could note down yet another big win at Knokke Hippique 2019 and pocket nearly 17 000 Euro in prize money. It was a great day for the Belgians with four riders in the top five: Nicola Philippaerts in second ahead of Bertram Allen in third, followed by Zoe Conter in fourth and the young and talented Thibeau Spits in fifth.
“I know now that the horse can be fast, but Bertram Allen, Nicola Philippaerts and Greg Broderick are always fast too so I had to take my chances and go for it again,” Hendrickx said after his victory. “And it turned out good!”
Dominique Hendrickx now sits first on the standings for the Top Series Leading Rider Award. The best Top Series rider after four weeks of competition at Knokke Hippique wins a STX 2 Horse Truck for one year.
Knokke Hippique concludes with a final week of competition running from 10th-14th of July.
Full results from Saturday’s Top Series Grand Prix can be found via this link.