Lorenzo De Luca brought yet another big five-star win home to Knokke Hippique-host and Event President Stephan Conter, when taking the top honours in Saturday night’s CSI5* 1.50m Championship of Knokke presented by Knokke Heist.
The fifteen best riders from the first round in this class moved on to the second, which was against the clock. Ten riders were on a clean sheet, two carried a time penalty and three had a rail on their record.
Under the floodlights, the horses and riders were faced with a shortened course set by Uliano Vezzani – but it spread out across the entire Zoute Plage so there was plenty of galloping to be done and also options for tight turns and shortcuts.
It was a determined De Luca that entered the ring with Scuderia 1918 Halifax van het Kluizebos (Heartbreaker x Fetiche du Pas) as the third rider carrying a clean sheet from the first round. The Italian, who rides for Stephan Conter’s Stephex Stables in Belgium, wasted no time around the shortened track – taking all the risk. Crossing the finish line, the clock showed 41.77 seconds and it looked like that would be very difficult to beat.
Although they all tried, the remaining riders could not catch De Luca. Closest came De Luca’s Stephex-colleague Daniel Deusser and Calisto Blue (Chacco-Blue x Con Air), winners of Friday’s feature class, that stopped the clocks at 42.38 seconds. Best on behalf of the host nation was Niels Bruynseels, who finished third with Jenson Van’t Meulenhof (Vagabond de La Pomme x Quidam de Revel) with a time of 44.21 seconds.