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Epic Final Day Showdown At Tops International Arena Sees Delestre And Dexter Dazzle In CSI4* Grand Prix

The closing day of thrilling action at Tops International Arena Summer Event Three ending with flying Frenchman Simon Delestre and lightning fast Dexter Fontenis Z stealing the win in the CSI4* Grand Prix. Delestre denied Sanne Thijssen and her Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix winning partner Con Quidam RB a home win today as they stopped the clock over a second faster in the 1.55m jump-off.Continuing his fantastic form Emanuele Gaudiano gave it the best go possible having to settle for third in the end just 0.09s slower than Thijssen on Crack Balou. But it was Simon’s flyer to the penultimate fence and him risking it all to the last that mean he took the lion’s share of the €100,000 prize purse.All week top riders have praised the phenomenal facilities at Tops International Arena including Christian Kukuk who said: “I always like coming to Valkenswaard because you have top training facilities, top warm ups, top rings and the whole package with the permanent stables is just one of the best in Europe. You can work with your horses under the best conditions.”Next week the stunning destination of Tops International Arena hosts the Longines Global Future Champions event from 5 - 7 August where young talent will get the opportunity to perform on an international stage in world class facilities.Girl Power: Costa wins YH Finals
35 Young talents were at the start of the exciting Young Horses Final. Of these, 14 managed to stay clear in the first round. The six-year-olds opened the jump-off and the Dutch Joy Lammers and her gelding Damascus (Zang, Dominator 2000 Z x Ustinov) set the best time of these four. In the end, this earned them fifth place. The first seven-year-old, Cbi McGregor (Ard VDL Douglas x Karandasj) ridden by American Maria Costa, flew over the fences and improved Lammers' time by more than two seconds. No combination was able to beat this time, although Kevin Jochems, Dries Dekkers and Guillaume Foutrier, among others, made a good attempt. Several combinations made a mistake on the last obstacle. The end result was a second place for the Dutchman Jochems with Looks Good de Liebri Z (Lector van den Bisschop x Bentley van de Heffinck). Belgian Dekkers came third with the BWP gelding Pommery van het IJzeren Lindehof (Kasanova de la Pomme x Robin des Bruyeres).

CSI2*: Johannpeter flies to victory in style
It was an incredibly exciting jump-off in the 2* Grand Prix where all the riders risked everything. The challenging but fair course made use of the entire grass arena and required a lot of galloping power and speed. The first round saw 55 combinations of which 16 qualified for the jump-off. The battle for victory was fierce. Nicolas Pizarro had the difficult task of starting first. He stayed clear with Oak Grove's Enkidu (SF, Ensor VDH Pleville x Quidam de Revel) in a great time of 40.01 seconds. But that was not enough when the Irishman Jeremy Sweetnam took over the lead with Brown Star Z (Big Star Jr KZ x Numero Uno). He stopped the clock at 39.75. Belgian rider Alexander Housen is having a very successful season so far at Tops International Arena and expectations were high. Housen set a high pace and took all the risks. With that he took over the lead from Sweetnam. Housen and the ISH mare Rockwell RC (by Kannan) crossed the finish line in 39.66 seconds. His hopes of victory were dashed when Karina Johannpeter put in an amazing ride that brought the time even closer. The 38-year-old Brazilian rode a controlled and super fast round of 39.04 seconds with the SLS stallion Lucero LS La Silla (Tlaloc M x Accord II). The six combinations that came after her could not change a thing.

"I am very happy with this victory. Lucero is now 17 years old and I have been riding this stallion for 10 years. I am planning to retire him. I am very happy that he can retire in such good shape. He feels good and he could go on a bit longer, but I want to show my respect and gratitude in this way." Karina was already very happy with her clear first round: "I almost had to cry for joy because he had jumped so well. A fortnight ago we had a fault on the last jump, so I decided to try again this weekend because I think he deserves to say goodbye with a clear round. When Karina saw that 16 were starting in the jump-off, she did not know what to do, so she asked her groom, "should I go for the victory or should I just ride a beautiful jump-off? I then decided to wait and see how he would feel, that's important to me. And he felt good and then I decided to go for it. It was very emotional because I wanted him to win so much. I am so grateful to him." Karina was already at Tops International Arena in 2016: "I love it here. I am very happy that the grass is back, I am a big fan of riding on grass. The horses feel comfortable on a grass surface of this quality."

The third day of Summer Event 3 started early for the participants in the Small Tour competition (against the clock, 1.35m). A total of 17 combinations came to the start and 7 of them were clear. The Australian Evie Buller was by far the fastest with Elenoor (Holst, by Limbus). They went over the obstacles at a fast pace and stopped the clock at 60.49 seconds. The 28-year-old rider, who is married to Robbert Ehrens, the son of former national coach Rob Ehrens, has just one word for her mare: "amazing!" Second place was for Frenchman Guillaume Foutrier and the Zangersheide mare Toscane Z (Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z x HH Radco). They finished with a time of 65.07 seconds. Dutchman Michael Greve stopped the clock at 65.21 seconds with K-Star (KWPN, Big Star x Carolus H) and that was good for third place.

The 2* event ended with the Medium Tour (1.35m). 22 combinations managed to qualify for the jump-off which was convincingly won by Khaled Abdulrahman Almobty from Saudi Arabia. He was twice clear with the BWP mare Katinka VH Valenberghof (Corland x Montender) in a time of 32.93 seconds. Dutch rider Leopold van Asten came second with VDL Groep Victoria (KWPN, by Do Spiritivo). Third place was also for the Netherlands: Sanne Thijssen with her Holsteiner gelding Zeppelin Blue (Zirocco Blue x Ramiro). Yesterday she won this class.

CSI1*: Ghrayeb wins Grand Prix
In the 1* Grand Prix on Sunday morning the time allowed was also a barrier in the first round. Only seven combinations managed to stay clear within the time allowed and qualify for the jump-off. The first combination, the Finnish Noora Forstén and her Holsteiner stallion Chubakko (Connor 48 x Colman) stayed clear in 39.96 seconds. Soon this time was bettered by the Dutch Journey van Eerd and the attentive Gaudi (KWPN, Zambesi TN x Burggraaf NV). She could not enjoy this success for long, as the Belgian Guido Hornesch immediately went below her time with Nailah (BWP, Kannan x Darco). Last starter was the Syrian Shady Ghrayeb who had already shown during the previous days that he was able to set a fast time. He did the same this time. He crossed the finish line more than two seconds faster, claiming victory with Cabernet de Mas (SF, Baloubet du Rouet x Dollar dela Pierre). Second place was for Hornesch and Van Eerd came third.

The victory in the 1.25m class went to the Dutch Yoni van Santvoort with the KWPN mare Kinky Girl (Alano x Zilverstar VDL). The young rider from Nuenen, just north of Eindhoven, took the victory in 60.73 seconds. A great result for this only 13-year old talent. Shady Ghrayeb came second for Syria with Fara de Beaufour (SF, by Diamant de Semilly). Swiss Clarissa Crotta finished in third place with Qaboom van de Bucxtale (BWP, by Skippy II).

The CSI1* ended with a nice exciting jump-off (1.15m) that was won by Frenchman Romain Potin and Brooklynn (SF, Contendro x Echo des Forets II). On Saturday this combination also won the 1* 1.25m class. The young Syrian Layth Ghrayeb came second with Elite de Ponts (SF, Malito de Reve x Si Tu Viens). The Belgian Rune Reynders completed the top three with Capolavaro Z (Chellsini Z x Skippy II).




Tops International Arena fun continues as Kukuk beats Springsteen in edge-of-the-seat speed class

The second day of exciting action at Tops International Arena in Valkenswaard showcased the exceptional horse and rider talent across all sections in various classes on the grass and sand arenas.It was Christian Kukuk who reigned supreme in the 1.50m CSI4* speed class with his fast and furious mare Nice van't Zorgvliet. Knocking Jessica Springsteen off top spot after her exception round on Hungry Heart but the pair were two seconds off the winning time in the end. Laura Kraut made it an American silver and bronze as she secured third place on Calgary Tame who is known for his vast stride and super fast turns.Crowds cheered as Kukuk set himself up perfectly for tomorrow’s Grand Prix in a fantastic display of sport. Tickets are still available to join tomorrow’s action on the buzzing Place de Concord at the link below.23-year-old Sanne Thijssen, who will travel to the World Championships in Herning, Denmark, in August, with the Dutch jumping team, won the Young Horse class on this sunny Saturday of Summer Event 3. Yesterday it did not quite go according to plan but today they were unbeatable. Sanne went clear in 61.93 seconds with the six-year-old KWPN mare La Pleasure (For Pleasure x Alicante HBC). La Pleasure was therefor also the best six-year-old in this competition. Sanne said: "Winning two classes today was great. La Pleasure is one of my top young horses and im so excited for the future of this horse. She absolutely loves the grass arena here at Tops where the footing is so perfect. It's perfect to help the young horses grow. Then in the two-star my grey Zeppelin Blue showed his talent fantastically. I could really let him go and move across the ground which I think helps us secure the second win of the day."Top German rider Christian Kukuk came second with the seven-year-old mare Chelsea (Old, Cador 5 x Laudabilis). Third place was for Italian Emanuele Gaudiano with the stallion Cor VD Kattevennen Z (Cornet Obolensky x Heartbreaker) with which he won the young horses final at Summer Event 1 a few weeks ago.Emanuele Gaudiano lived up to his reputation in the CSI2* Big Tour (direct on time, 1.45m) and set the fastest time with the eight-year-old Mecklenburg stallion Vasco (Vivant x Chacco-Blue). The speed specialist crossed the finish line in 62.36 seconds. He explained: "Vasco was a fantastic and jumping brilliant and it feels super to win this class today. The facilities here are brilliant for all the horses. They learn lots here and I’m looking forward to the Grand Prix tomorrow."Frenchman Julien Anquetin was in the lead for a long time but had to settle for third place. He realised a time of 62.84 seconds with the SF mare Baya du Ter (Kannan x Poor Boy). Several combinations tried to improve the time of Anquetin and Gaudiano, including Jessica Springsteen with Naomi van het Keizershof (BWP, Cardento x For Pleasure), Niels Kersten with Grieg S (KWPN, Indoctro x Kenwood) and his brother Lars Kersten with Hallilea (KWPN, VDL Zirocco Blue x Larome). The latter did best and came second in a time of 62.79.After her first place in the Young Horses class, Sanne Thijssen also took the win in the CSI2* Medium Tour. With a super round she went 0.06 faster over the fences than the Italian Giampiero Garofalo who was in the lead until then. Sanne rode the Holsteiner gelding Zeppelin Blue (Zirocco Blue x Ramiro) in 66.70 over the finish line. Garofalo stopped the clock at 66.76 seconds with First of April CL (KWPN, Arezzo VDL x Oklund) in his clear round. Brazilian Yuri Mansur Guerios completed the top three with Hellix du Seigneur (SBS, Curby du Seigneur x Calvaro).In the last competition on Saturday, the CSI2* Small Tour 1.35m with direct jump-off, Piet Raijmakers Jr secured a Dutch victory. With a super jump-off round he rode Just Cornet R.T. (KWPN, Cornet Obolensky x Baloubet du Rouet) over the finish line in a time of 34.65 seconds. Piet Raijmakers Jr runs Team Piet Raijmakers in Asten, not far from Valkenswaard, together with his father Piet Sr, brother Joep and sister-in-law Leontien. German rider Toni Hassmann came second with Top Gun SR (Casimo x Bollvorm's Libero H) followed by Weert-based Emma Augier de Moussac (CZE) in third place with Hello HX (Afellay x N-Aldato).Yesterday Romain Potin won the  CSI1* 1.30/1.35m class and today he repeated this result in the 1.25m, a competition in which the jump-off was ridden directly after a clear first round. The 34-year-old from northern France was riding the SF mare Brooklynn (Contendro x Echo des Forets II) in this competition. As the 11th starter he set a super fast time of 29.74 seconds that no other combination after him could match. The father of two daughters won the Grand Prix of Hardelot with the same horse this year. British rider Claudia Moore came second with H Quainton Xtra Factor (KWPN, Namelus R x Nissan Catango Z). Third place was for Belgian Guido Hornesch and his mare Karanka (Cidane x Ikoon).The victory in the CSI1* 1.35m section went to the Italian rider Giampiero Garofalo. He was the fastest this time with the SF gelding Fandango de Semilly (Diamant de Semilly x Apache d'Adriers). The 28-year-old, who won team bronze at the 2018 Mediterranean Games in Barcelona is starting for the first time at Tops International Arena. He also represented Italy at European Championships for Young Riders (2013 and 2015) and Juniors (2011 and 2012). This year he managed to win the Grand Prix of Kronenberg in May. Second place was for Shady Ghrayeb from Syria with Fara de Beaufour (SF, Diamant de Semilly). Jillian Terceira, riding for Bermuda, came third with Chanita (Holst, Caretino x Contender).The Syrian Layth Ghrayeb was more than 4 seconds faster today in the 1.15m competition than the second-placed Coline De Coninck. He thus repeated his victory of yesterday. Ghrayeb stayed clear and stopped the clock at 57.78 seconds with Elite de Ponts (SF, Malito de Reve x Si Tu Viens). The only 15-year-old is in a winning mood. The last few months he has won in Kronenberg, Opglabbeek, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Belgian Coline was third on Friday and today second with the BWP gelding Johnny B Goode VH Harteveld (Mr. Blue x Nabab de Reve). Giel Vangeebergen came third for Belgium with Gazelle (KWPN, A' Lee Spring Power x No Limit).



Final Summer Event At Tops International Arena Kicks Off As Riders Declared the Venue ‘Best Facilities Ever’

There was a wide range of nationalities joining the winner's enclosure on the first day of Summer Event three at Tops International Arena. Local dutchman Kevin Jochems, who celebrated his 27th birthday today kicked the party off with top honours in the young horse class on board Looks Good de Liebri Z.Jochems has loved coming to Tops International Arena since 2016. "The facilities here are amazing, it couldn't be better, everything you need is there and the grass here is incredible, one of the best footings I've ever seen. I like to bring my young horses here because I think it is important for young horses to jump on the grass. So it's ideal to jump here for three days."Italian speed merchant Emanuele Gaudiano secured the lion's share of CSI4* 1.50m prize purse on board the lighting fast Crack Balou. With music flowing around the venue, crowds moved from the buzzing Place de Concorde to watch Simon Delestre have to settle for second place by half a second on Dexter Fontenis Z while home hero Kevin Jochems continued his flying form to claim third on Cornetboy.Summer Event 3 was opened by the young horses in the beautiful grass arena of Tops International Arena. Nine six-year-olds and 27 seven-year-olds appeared at the start of this Two Phases Special class with obstacles up to 1.30/1.35m high. Dutch rider Kevin Jochems won the class with a brilliant smooth round. With the seven-year-old Zangersheide mare Looks Good de Liebri Z (Lector van den Bisschop x Bentley van de Heffinck) he managed to finish the course just a little faster than the Frenchman Julien Anquetin and his seven-year-old stallion Crack d'Aiguilly Z (Zang, Comme Il Faut x Nabab de Reve) who were leading until then."It is a nice and naturally very fast horse. A fortnight ago she also jumped here and was placed every day. Really a super nice horse," said Jochems praising his horse who he is riding since January. "I think she has a bright future. She has already jumped many clear rounds, she is very competitive, I have a good feeling about her."Third place was for American Molly Hay and the SF gelding Fala Brecourt (Urano de Cartigny x Helios de la Cour II). Best six-year-old was the OS grey stallion Chicharito (Cornet Obolensky x Cellestial) in fifth place ridden by Brazilian Andre Americo de Miranda.Germany's Nicola Pohl won the CSI2* Big Tour competition (Two Phases, 1.45m) on Friday morning. The talented rider rode a clear round with the mare Fiona des Hayettes (SBS, Lord des Hayettes x Ryon d'Anzex) in 25.79 seconds. The 26-year-old rides for Reitsportanlage Dagobertshausen and has already taken quite a few victories to her name this year. Dutchman Piet Raijmakers Jr made a good attempt with Van Schijndel's Olaya Z (Zang, Ogano Sitte x Concorde) but had to settle for second place. The Belgian Alexander Housen, who has been very successful this season at Tops International Arena, came third with the ISH mare Rockwell RC (by Kannan).The CSI2* Medium Tour (Two Phases, 1.40m) was won by the Turkish rider Derin Demirsoy. The 28-year-old, who lives in Maastricht stayed clear in a time of 27.27 seconds with the SF stallion Caprice d'Elle (Arko III x Papillon Rouge). Second place was shared by the Dutch Leopold van Asten with VDL Groep Victoria (KWPN, by Do Spiritivo) and the Italian Lorenzo de Luca with Dirka de Blondel (SF, Very Berlin de Castel x Lauterbach). They both had a clear round in 28.19 seconds.Today’s CSI1* Two Phases Special, 1.30/1.35m, was won by Romain Potin and the Zangersheide mare Une Folie de l'Oz (Untouchable x Sandro Boy). Potin stayed clear in both phases and stopped the clock at 36.92 seconds. The 34-year-old Frenchman, who runs Ecurie Romain Potin together with his wife Juliette, recently came 2nd in the 2* Grand Prix at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco with Coconet. Syria's Shady Ghrayeb came second with the SF gelding Cabernet de Mars (Baloubet du Rouet x Dollar dela Pierre). This 43-year-old rider won an individual silver medal and a team gold medal at this year's Mediterranean Games in Oran, Algeria. Third place went to the Belgian Guido Hornesch who had saddled the BWP mare Nailah (Kannan x Darco) for this class. During Summer Event 1 this combination managed to win this class.A few weeks ago, during Summer Event 1, he was almost unbeatable and also now the other competitors could not keep Kasper De Boeck from victory. The 15 year old Kasper was the fastest in the CSI1* 1.20m Two Phases course with the KWPN mare Gerenia (by Cantos). They were clear in 30.59 seconds. The Belgian young talent made his international debut at the CSI Lier in June 2018, still only 11 years old. His compatriot Guido Hornesch was also at the front of the prize-giving line-up in this class. He finished second with Karanka (Cidane x Ikoon) with a clear round in 32.55 seconds. British rider Claudia Moore finished in third place with H Quainton Xtra Factor (KWPN, Namelus R x Nisan Catango Z).



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