The inaugural Jumping Clash Challenge was held in Antwerp, Belgium Friday night, and eight riders took to the ring this evening to contend for the unique head-to-head title. (You can learn more about the format of this event here.) The four Seeded riders, all within the top ten of the FEI ranking lists, took on the four Challenger riders in a heated quarter final.
But it was the Challengers who came out on top, all of them winning their first round, securing an all-Challenger semi-final. The Seeded riders did not, however, go down without a fight, Canada’s Eric Lamaze missed out on his place in the next round by less than a second to Belgian young rider Constant Van Paesschen, and top Seeded rider Daniel Deusser looked set for a win going into the last, but the pole falling, gave Patrice Delaveau the win to proceed on in the competition.
The semi-final saw Pedro Veniss and Emanuele Gaudiano go head to head in what was the closest round of the evening with only .4 of a second in it, in Gaudiano’s favour. After Veniss took the win against Van Paesschen, the final saw Italy go head to head with France.
Gaudiano took to the JUMPINGCLASH CHALLENGE arena first, and he was certainly setting the pace, quick around every turn he kicked onto the finish, but one fence down added time to clock and he finished on 33.43 seconds. With the pace set, Delaveau knew he had to come out fighting, and he did just that. Flying round the course through a master-class round, he took the title with a clear round in 29.25 seconds.
When asked whether he will be taking his horse in the Grand Prix at Antwerp the following day, Delaveau replied “My horse is sixteen years old, after this he will have a little holiday. I brought him to Antwerp especially for the challenge.”
Although pipped to the post, Gaudiano expressed his excitement for the format of ACCENTURE JUMPINGCLASH CHALLENGE and what it can do for the sport, and told Founder Daniel Entrecanales that he will definitely be back for another claim of the title.
For his victory, Patrice takes home a brand new BMW, which he took for a little victory spin in the arena following his win, to the delight of the fans.