Harrie Smolders wins the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riesenbeck

July 24. 2023

Harrie Smolders wins the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riesenbeck

Battle of the giants on the Riesenbeck turf


Harrie Smolders, Max Kühner and Daniel Deußer - three absolute world class riders in a top field settled the first Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Riesenbeck among themselves in the end.


Philipp Schulze Topphoff, team rider at Riesenbeck International, but not competing this weekend, had said it as Frank Rothenberger and team walked the course: "There is not one big cliff here, here the mistakes will be spread out." And, "After all, we're not at a children's birthday party here, this is the Global Champions Tour." How right he was. Of the original 36 pairs, eight made it to the jump-off of the Longines Global Champions Tour leg of Riesenbeck. Daniel Deusser's Killer Queen once again showed her exceptional quality with a formidable clear round in 46.60 seconds. Others fluffed, among them Ireland's Eoin McMahon on Mila, the last big success horse of his boss Ludger Beerbaum, who left it to his stable rider after his retirement. One down in 46.20 seconds meant sixth place for the pair in the end - a super success, even if they had hoped for more.

Then Harrie Smolders (NED) and Uricas v/d Kattevennen performed. The two simply succeeded in everything today. In the 180 degree turn with subsequent steep jump at maximum height, where one already thought with Deußer and Killer Queen that a tighter turn would not work, the two managed to make one less canter jump. Then once again they put their foot down on the last line. Even with the last obstacles, Uricas didn't even come close to a pole. And the time? 45.56 seconds, more than a second faster than Deußer. Smolders' tactics? "I had seen Daniel in the jump-off on the screen, he ran great at the beginning, at the end he maybe took a little bit of time, so it was a little bit open for me. And then yes, to the last jump I think, the jump-off was set up so nicely, to the last jump my horse saw the jump as well, first distance, and that's when I think I won."

What he did not know directly after his ride, because as the last in the jump-off Max Kühner with his top horse Elektric Blue P would still have had the chance to dispute him the victory. But it was not quite enough to catch up with Smolders and Uricas. The clock stopped at 45.56 seconds, second place.

Kühner: "In retrospect, of course, one is always smarter. Now I would have tried the one left turn, where you had to get the brown steep, there I had one canter jump too much. But Blue jumped super and I am also quite happy with second place," said the man from Starnberg, who has been riding for Austria since 2015.

And the winner Harrie Smolders, beamed, especially about the performance of his partner under the saddle: "It is only the first year that he goes 1.60. I had started a bit quiet with him, he has so much quality, maybe it needs one more year of experience. Now it's paying off. He has already won the Grand Prix in St. Gallen and now here is a grass arena again, which I think he likes. He then also participated super in the jump-off, he knows the game a bit at the moment, if these are the right people and so, he gives a bit more ..."

Daniel Deußer summed up the overall impression of today's jumping from the rider's point of view: "We had good ground, it's a nice big grass arena, the horses just jump well there because they also feel comfortable. And I think to have eight in the jump-off at the end with almost 40 riders is a pretty optimal result."

Jan Tops, founder and president of the Global Champions Tour, also drew a positive conclusion from the weekend: "The conditions are of course perfect for the horses and for the people. The stables and the arena, that is of course very important for the sport. And we saw today, even if it rains a bit, the conditions are very good."

Karsten Lütteken was first of all happy, no "super happy and quite happy that it went like this." As far as the number of spectators was concerned, the conclusion was also positive: "It was good, especially with the seats, the roofed seats were sold out very quickly. Yesterday 5000 and today 6000, the advance sale went already quite well.

However, there is no question of resting for him, because from September 5 to 10, the European Dressage and Para-Dressage Championships will take place in Riesenbeck: "It actually continues quite seamlessly, at least for us here in the organization in the team. We will now dismantle some things, rebuild.

The grandstands will be added, the dressage stadiumwill be half the size of the show jumping stadium, there will of course be a sand arena built on top of the grass." Well then, see you in seven weeks!

All resuts: https://www.longinestiming.com/equestrian/2023/longines-global-champions-tour-of-riesenbeck-riesenbeck/#area4