The final competition of the opening day at Jumping Verona 2023 produced a brilliant 13-horse jump-off in which Frenchman Simon Delestre and the young mare Olga van de Kruishoeve galloped to victory ahead of Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.
Uliano Vezzani’s 13-fence first-round track posed plenty of questions, with the final line of oxer to a narrow yellow water-tray vertical proving the undoing of many. And against the clock the Italian course designer set them another tricky test with the winner taking all the risks on the many tight turns.
Italy’s Francesco Turturiello set the early target when second to go with a clear round in 41.23 seconds, and another five horse-and-rider combinations took their turn before three-time World Cup champion Marcus Ehning from Germany bettered that when crossing the line in 41.10 with Coolio 42.
But then Peder Fredricson set a whole new standard when scorching home with the aptly-named Vroom de la Pomme Z who stopped the clock on 39.40 to take a lead that looked unlikely to be beaten. Delestre however wasn’t intimidated by the new target set by the Swede who sealed the historic Olympic team gold for his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Frenchman put his foot to the floor from the outset and never took a pull, his willing Belgian-bred mare responding with athletic zeal to set the arena alight as she galloped across the finish line in 37.63 seconds, and that really put it up to the remaining three.
Second-last to go, 2014 World Cup champion Deusser gave it his best shot with his 15-year-old stallion but they couldn’t catch the leader, finishing in runner-up spot but more than a second behind the winners when breaking the beam in 38.92 seconds.
Olga is a very new partner for double-Olympian Delestre. He only started competing her in August this year following her career with Moroccan athlete Leina Benkhraba who competed her up to CSI3* level.
«This is really a fantastic start. She is a young horse, only nine, but she was already amazing last week in Lyon where she was third in the Masters. She won two classes in the Morocco Tour and I have her this week for the Grand Prix», Delestre explained.
The French rider has a strong bond with Jumping Verona.
«I have been coming here for many years and I won this class last year and twice the Grand Prix with Hermes Ryan. I love Verona and it’s always a joy to come!», he pointed out.
And looking ahead to Sunday’s big test in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2023/2024 Western European League qualifier with his new young star horse he said, «it will be Olga’s first big Grand Prix – but she can do it!».