Matthew Sampson (GBR) concluded the Autumn MET 2018 in the best possible way, when taking the top honours in Sunday’s CSI2* Grand Prix presented by CHG. After being close to Grand Prix victory earlier on in the Tour, it was Sampson and the 9-year-old mare Ebolensky’s turn today in Oliva Nova.
Ten out of the 63 horse-and-rider combinations in this 1.45m Grand Prix counting for the world ranking produced clears over course designer Christian Wiegand’s first round track, moving on to the jump-off. Coming in as 7th in the order, Sampson produced a beautiful and fast round on the stunning Ebolensky (Clinton x Heartbreaker). With his time of 37.46, Sampson shaved off a second on the leading time – pushing Kristaps Neretnieks (LAT) and Moon Ray (Cornet Obolensky x Contender) down to runner-up position. Third place went to Niall Talbot (IRL) on Caracter (Carano x Liatos).
“I wanted to give Ebolensky a bit time coming into that double in the jump-off, because it was quite short. So, my plan was to go fast on the first three jumps and then take one stride out on the line to the last fence. And it worked out, I was lucky,” was Sampson’s comment on his jump-off.
“Ebolensky has recently stepped up to Grand Prix level,” Sampson said of the lovely grey mare that he has been riding since she was 7-years-old. “She was second in the Grand Prix here two weeks ago, and also second in the ranking class here on Friday. I think she is something special, and I am aiming towards doing some Nations Cups with her next year. Then we will see where that takes us.”
Sampson is a frequent visitor at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour and was full of praise after spending three weeks with eight horses in Oliva Nova. “It’s absolutely fantastic here. The facilities are great, and it is a lovely place for us to come!”
“We have had a great Autumn MET, with some of the world’s very best riders competing here in Oliva Nova over the last weeks. There has been top sport to watch, and we are very proud to have had so many big names here,” says MET Event Director Bettina Pöhls. “We are already looking forward to the opening of the Spring MET 2019.”
Today’s Grand Prix marked the end of the Autumn MET 2018. The Mediterranean Equestrian Tour will be back in January with its spring-edition. The Spring MET 2019 will run in four parts: January 15-27 (MET I), February 5-24 (MET II), March 12-31 (MET III) and April 9-21 (MET IV).