THE Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) grand prix of Hamburg winner was crowned in unusual circumstances, with Harrie Smolders and Une De L’Othain victorious with the only clear round of the competition.
The absence of a jump-off did little to dilute the excitement as persistent rain combined with course-designer Frank Rothenberger’s typically challenging track raised the stakes in the 11th leg of the Tour.
Dutchman Harrie Smolders was drawn 19th of the 29 starters and showed real delight when crossing the finish line with the first clear of the afternoon. However as the remaining 10 riders, who included some of the Tour’s heavyweights such as Ben Maher (Ginger-Blue) and Olivier Robert (Vangog Du Mas Garnier), all amassed faults, it dawned on Harrie that a second round may not be required. When the final rider, Marlon Modolo Zanotelli of Brazil riding Urban De Rohan, hit the first fence, the result was sealed and Harrie was crowned the Hamburg grand prix victor for the second time in three years.
“The unexpected wins are the most beautiful ones and I think that was one today,” said Harrie, who had been competing in Brussels but received a late call-up to compete in Hamburg.
He arrived there to compete on Friday and Saturday before returning to Belgium, and then heading back to Germany to represent the Netherlands at the European Championships.
Of the Evergate Stables-owned grey mare Une De L’Othain, a 13-year-old French-bred by Conterno Grande, out of a Cento mare, Harrie said: “She loves this arena – she jumped here a few years ago and was also amazing then – but to jump the only clear in the grand prix is outstanding.
“She is always looking for the next jump and she feels very comfortable on the course in Hamburg.”
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