Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck claimed one of the biggest victories of his career with the Equerry Horse Feeds Bolesworth International 4* 1.60m grand prix with Ulyss Morinda.
It was no mean feat as 10 from the original 39 starters came forward to the jump-off in pursuit of the £29,500 first prize – the nine initial clears joined by Amanda Derbyshire on one time fault after finishing just 0.10 sec over the time allowed in round one.
Amanda made no mistake as she opened the jump-off with a clear second time out on Luibanta BH to move up the order and take an eventual sixth.
But she was no match for third-drawn Rik who set off like he meant business from the off on the unusually coloured stallion Ulyss Morinda. And he pulled it out of the bag, trusting the careful Utah Van Erpekom/Jalisco B 11-year-old as he risked tighter and tighter turns at a relentless pace- not even taking a pull at the tricky double of verticals – to take the lead.
Ellen Whitaker looked in contention all the way with the handsome 10-year-old Waldo Van Dungen stallion Arena UK Winston but finished 0.98 sec in arrears for third as the best of the Brits. And Holly Smith – a winner earlier in the week – gave it her best shot and beat the time by more than a sec on Hearts Destiny but the 10-year-old tapped out the front bar of a midway oxer to drop out of contention and into seventh.
British-based Irishman David Simpson on Charlotte Platt’s home-bred Jenson 55 and Alison Barton with Gaye Hartley’s big mare Roma IV looked no danger to the leader and both came home on clears for fourth and fifth. And it was left to last-drawn British-based American Laura Kraut to challenge the leading time on new ride Vvaramog De Breve.
The multi Olympic gold medallist was Rik’s biggest danger and she gave him a run for his money, chasing all the way with a deceptively quick round on the 10-year-old Verdi/Concorde mare Vvaramog. And came within 0.30 sec to slot into second place.
But the day belonged to Rik and the big coloured Ulyss Morinda.
“I saw the jump-off course contained a lot of verticals and thought it would suit my horse so I went with a lot of canter between the fences to put some pressure on the others,” he said.
"I have had Ulyss since he was seven, and he is really careful. I took my time developing him, and he did a couple of bigger shows last year before having a whole winter's rest. This would be his biggest win.”
It was a case of so near yet so far for Laura but she was happy with the 10-year-old mare that excelled amid the pressure of a 4* grand prix.
“I’m thrilled, this was my first grand prix with her and we went pretty close,” she said.
It was also a good result for third-placed Ellen on Arena UK Winston.
“I’m delighted. We got him as a four-year-old and it has been an interesting road to this point,” she said. “I’s taken me a little while to get the hang of managing such a big horse but he was great today and it’s really exciting for the future.”
Text and Photos © Jumping Around/TSM & Bolesworth Events