The journey to victory in GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix, with prize money totalling 100,000 euros, required the mastery of 13 spectacular, florally decorated obstacles having heights ranging up to 1.55 m, with as few faults as possible. The permitted time for this standard competition with jump-off was 74 seconds, not to be exceeded if a chance at the final decider was to be retained. Lining up for this challenge on Sunday at the GLOCK HORSE PERFORMANCE CENTER were 38 participating duos, including Olympic, World and European Champions, all drawn to Austria by the flair of top international equestrian sport. Yet it wasn’t solely about the honour of the title of GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix winner, but also those valuable points for the LONGINES World Rankings, which open the doors to high profile events and championships for the riders.
Spectator seating was full up to the last place and every duo was greeted with encouraging applause. Clear rounds were celebrated with cheers, faults rendered a little more bearable with encouraging applause. Qualifying for the deciding jump-off to contest victory were eleven duos, including not only GLOCK Rider Gerco Schröder and his top horse GLOCK’s London, the twice GLOCK’s Grand Prix winner and number 13 in the LONGINES World Rankings, Martin Fuchs (SUI) and the GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix 2014 winner, Filippo Moyersoen, but also, to the delight of the home audience, two Austrian show jumpers too. Both 23-year-old Valerie Wick (AUT/W) and European Championship rider Julia Houtzager-Kayser (AUT/T) had qualified for the jump-off with magnificent rounds.
Ultimately the chance to celebrate for real went to 25-year-old Martin Fuchs from Switzerland, who went for full risk and, following those in 2012 (CSI3*) and 2017 (CSI5*), collected his third GLOCK’s Grand Prix victory. In the saddle on Cool And Easy, a 14-year-old Holstein son of Contender and owned by Paul Bücheler, the winner of the 5-star Grands Prix of Zurich and Basel secured the 25,000 euro winner’s prize in GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix magnificently in an unbeatable 43.30 seconds.
“I’ve been riding Cool And Easy only since November. He’s an incredibly fast horse, easy to ride, and always works superbly well at tournaments. With Hans-Dieter Dreher he has already won 5-star Grands Prix and of course I hope that I can also achieve that with him.”, were the winner’s effusive words of praise for his horse. “It’s one of my favourite tournaments here at the GLOCK HORSE PERFORMANCE CENTER, because it really caters to the needs of riders, horses and those who care for them. My horses and I feel very comfortable here and that’s reflected in the results too.”
Kristaps Neretnieks (LAT) and Moon Ray, son of Cornet Obolensky, also delivered an absolutely dream round and achieved an outstanding second place in the prestigious GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix 2018 (0/43.98).
The occupant of third place in this GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix came from Belgium: No. 65 in the world, Wilm Vermeir, with his just nine-year-old Belgian stallion DM Jacqmotte, delivered a rapid, penalty-free jump-off round in 44.93 seconds.
GLOCK Rider Gerco Schröder (NED) and his top horse, GLOCK’s London, also featured in the deciding jump-off and, as fourth penalty-free duo, took an excellent fourth place.
Valerie Wick (AUT/W), just 23 years old, delivered a sensational ride amongst the top placings and best among the Austrians in GLOCK’s 3* Grand Prix. She piloted her self-trained, 12-year-old Belgian gelding, Gijon van den Hunsberg, magnificently through both the basic round and the jump-off and achieved an excellent ninth place. Furthermore, Julia Houtzager-Kayser (AUT/T) and Sterrehof’s Dante occupied tenth place on behalf of the Alpine republic.