Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Miss Untouchable (Chacco-Blue x Aldatus) took their second win in just as many days at the Brussels Stephex Masters when going to the top in Saturday’s CSI5* 1.50m presented by STX Finance.
The Dutch rider and his 10-year-old mare also won Friday’s five-star 1.45m class, and was again not to touch tonight. This evening’s 1.50m competition counting for the world ranking had a winning round, with the best 25 % from the first – 10 riders exactly – coming back to compete against the clock. For the winning round, all the riders started on a zero-penalty score.
Uliano Vezzani’s shortened course for the second round was all about turning, until the last line next to the VIP were riders could ask their horses to stretch out on seven strides. Living up to her name, VDL Groep Miss Untouchable had no trouble with the twisting track – turning on a coin after each jump and then taking the seven strides between the last two jumps to stop the clock at 42.98 seconds.
“My plan was to go for it, she is in a super shape and jumped really well in the first round,” said Leopold after. “I knew I had to go for it and take risks, knowing who was coming behind me. Everything went really smooth except the roll-back to the penultimate Rolex oxer, it was a bit hectic – but it was for most the horses. I was a bit worried that I would not make the seven strides to the last jump, but she speeded up well.”
“She is amazing,” Leopold said of VDL Groep Miss Untouchable that came to his stables at the end of 2015 as an 8-year-old. “She jumps an unbelievable amount of clear rounds, she has done a lot of Global Tours this year as a second horse – and done a really good job. She is naturally fast, and I believe a lot in her. Everything she jumped until now, she jumped easy,” smiled the happy winner who tomorrow will jump VDL Groep Beauty in the Grand Prix.
Living legend John Whitaker gave it a really good go on Argento (Arko III x Gasper), but this time the British rider had to see himself beaten by nearly a second to settle for runner-up position. Germany and Stephex Stables’ own Daniel Deusser finished third on Cornet (Cornet Obolensky x Caletto I), also he clear in both rounds with a time of 44.22 against the clock. Pieter Devos was best on behalf of the host nation and finished fourth, after going clear in the winning round – while fifth place went to Dutch rider Gert Jan Bruggink.
It was another evening of amazing atmosphere at Brussels Stephex Masters, and it was jam-packed around the main arena with spectators filling up every possible free space. Van Asten praised both the show organizers and crowds for making the event very special for the riders: “This event is one of the best!” he said. “It’s beautiful, everything is there – a lot of people and a great entertainment show in addition to top sport. I cannot imagine one thing you can do better here!”
Picture © Scoopdyga