It was a spectacular conclusion to a star-studded weekend in California as German Olympic team bronze medalist Daniel Deusser and Equita van’t Zorgvliet claimed the Longines Grand Prix title Sunday. Daniel now has the opportunity to duke it out for the Masters Grand Slam in Paris (December) and Hong Kong (February).
Uliano Vezzani designed an impeccable test in the Long Beach Convention Center that tested the skills of the most scrappy and adept indoor horse. There were loads of rollbacks and opportunities to save time by turning in the air or jumping the massive spreads at a precarious angle.
10 horses went clear to move on to the jump-off, and it was a veritable smorgasbord of nations represented, with riders from USA, Germany, Egypt, Netherlands, France, Ireland and Great Britain represented in the top ten. Jack Towell aboard S F Ariantha and Margie Goldstein-Engle aboard Royce were the only Americans to move on, and they would finish in ninth and tenth place, respectively.
Nayel Nassar went early in the jump-off and held the lead with a scorching time of 38.55 seconds aboard Lordan for much of the event before being picked off by Daniel by nearly a full second.
“I was kind of expecting it, there were a lot of good riders after me. I’m really happy of my horse, I know him so well at this point, I’ve spent an amazing week with him. It could have been better if it was not for this guy,” Nayel laughingly told the press, pointing to Daniel.
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands aboard Don VHP Z managed to nab the third place slot, just .6 seconds behind Nayel. Roger Yves Bost of France was fourth aboard Pegase de Murier and Cian O’Connor rounded out the top five with his favored mount, Good Luck.
Impressively, this was Daniel’s first time taking this particular horse through the indoor experience, but she seemed to take to the atmosphere well.
“I had to do adjustments really quickly with her as she had never competed indoor before,” Daniel explained. “The first two days were not amazing, she had one down and we took the last fence yesterday, but today she tried really hard. I saw that on the West Coast they were really fast so I knew I had to try everything to beat this young guy, to take all the risks. She played the game today, and she was amazing!”
The Paris leg of the Longines Masters will be held December 1-4 at the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte-Paris Nord (say that three times fast). If Daniel can repeat his success at the next two legs, he’ll be eligible for the Grand Slam check worth €2.25 million!
Longines Grand Prix Final Results: