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Speed demon Guy Williams, Rodrigo Pessoa and Emanuele Gaudiano all winners as 2022 season at Tops International Arena kicks off

Publicatie datum: 08/07/2022

The first event of the 2022 season at Tops International Arena started in style. The grass was impeccable, the sun was shining brightly and the atmosphere was perfect - a great start to the busy season at the state-of-the-art facilities in Valkenswaard.
Guy Williams and his lightning-fast stallion Rouge de Ravel claimed the biggest win on the first day of action as the Tops International Arena season is officially declared open. 

Taking top honours in the CSI4* 1.50m speed class Williams shaved over two seconds off Emanuele Gaudiano’s time of 60.04s on Nikolaj de Music and Ireland’s Daniel Coyle secured third place with Ivory TCS. Three home riders finished in full force in the second 4* competition of the day with dutch riders Mel Thijssen, Kevin Jochems and Wout-Jan van der Schans securing 4th, 5th and 6th and legend Rodrigo Pessoa took home first place in the 1.40m CSI4* two-phase adding to the list of big-name winners today.  

The first competition of the day on the beautiful grass was a young horse class. It was a showcase full of talent with the final winner was speedy Italian Emanuele Gaudiano and Cor VD Kattevennen Z. The 36-year-old Gaudiano completed the course almost a second faster (33.19) than the German Tobias Meyer, who was leading until then. The Italian, who lives in Germany, has had the 7-year-old stallion (ZANG, Cornet Obolensky x Heartbreaker) under his saddle for a year and in June this year, they won all three young horse classes in Gorla Minore, Italy. 

"Cor VD Kattevennen Z jumped brilliantly. It is a fantastic start of the weekend. For the young horses, it is great that they can jump on such a good grass surface. They learn a lot from it and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend," Gaudiano declared afterwards.

Tobias Meyer had to settle for second place on the 6-year-old mare Con Sugar-H OLD (OLD, Solitair x Check In) with a clear round in 34.01. Meyer was very successful in Valkenswaard last year with Celebrity-H. Third place was for the top Irish rider Darragh Kenny and the Hanoverian mare Serendepety (Stolzenberg x Escudo I) who rode a super clear round in 35.90 seconds.
The CSI2* Big Tour competition (two phases 1.45m) was won by Mexican Andres Azcarraga and the stallion Al Capone (BAWÜ, Candillo 3 x Argentinus). The 29-year-old son of the four-time Olympic rider Jaime Azcarraga set the fastest time as the third starter and all 37 riders who followed could not match.

Dutch rider Leopold van Asten made a good attempt but was almost 1 second slower with VDL Groep Iron Z (ZANG, Charisma Z x Mr. Blue) and German Jens Baackmann came third with the Westphalian mare Aglaia J (Arpeggio x Lancino de L).

44-year-old Ömer Karaevli managed to win the 1.40m for Turkey. He finished his round with the KWPN mare Hayley (London x Balou du Rouet) just a faster (28.52 seconds) than the Dutch Leopold van Asten who was in the lead at that time with a clear round in 28.75 seconds.

“I didn’t expect to win today with Hayley but she is naturally fast and I am very happy about the result. I jumped her grandmother at my first senior Europeans in Windsor. It is great to be able to ride here in Tops International Arena. It is an amazing venue with perfect footing, stables and organization,” said Karaevli afterwards.

Leopold had saddled VDL Groep Victoria, a KWPN mare by Do Spiritivo, for this class. Edoardo Alain Dubois claimed third place with Idem van der Hilst (SBS, V ter Hilst x Kannan).

In the last class at the end of the afternoon, victory also went to Mexico: to Andres' father, Jaime Azcarraga. The 63-year-old veteran competed four times at the Olympics and three times at a World Cup final. In Valkenswaard Jaime had saddled the eight-year-old mare Elvanto PS and proved to be the fastest in 26.51 seconds. Italian Alessandro La Commare came second with Miss Washington (President x Joyrider) and third place was for Emma Augier De Moussac (CZE) and Hello HX (KWPN, Afellay x N-Aldato).
The CSI1* combinations had three competitions on this opening day: all two phases with obstacles up to 1.35m, 1.20m and 1.10m.

Belgian Guido Hornesch won the first class (1.35m) with the nine-year-old BWP mare Nailah (Kannan x Darco). The 44-year-old rider from Hasselt, who is also a big soccer fan, rode a nice clear round in 31.47 seconds. His compatriot Tim Van Den Broeck came second with Pepper van de Bucxtale (BWP, Chaman x Boris van het Kluizebos). Brazilian Ricardo Correa Reinert finished in third place with the Westphalian stallion Cornet Phaeton Jmen (Cornet Obolensky x Contendro I).

Venezuelan Sabischy Hassler Hermann won the 1.20m class with her BWP gelding Little Joe 'r'. The 40-year-old rider, who also took part in Valkenswaard in 2017, rode a fast clear round in 33.83 seconds. The only 15-year-old Kasper De Boeck from Belgium came second with the KWPN mare Gerenia (by Cantos). Kasper was made his international debut as an 11-year-old at the CSI Lier in June 2018. Dutch Sofie van den Broek completed the top three with the nine-year-old Zangersheide mare Cupcake Z (Chacco-Blue x Caretano Z).

The final class in the CSI1* was the two-phase 1.10m. Swiss rider August Fuchs won and also came second. Fuchs is of course a well-known surname in the horse world, but August is not related to Martin, but to Alois, who also jumped internationally. The 64-year-old rider from Hitzkirch has been riding at regional level for a long time, but is also a successful entrepreneur and popular singer. The veteran rider won with the KWPN gelding Elegance III (Whitesnake x Amethist) and came second with Darina V (HOLST, Cardenio 2 x Corofino II). German Leticia Hirmer came third with Encore (KWPN, Nabab de Reve x Damiro B).
All of tomorrow’s action can be watched live on GCTV.