42 riders started the KBC Bank Grand Prix in Mechelen last night, and 12 were able to lay waste to the first round and qualify for their shot at glory in the jump-off. The Belgian crowd was hankering for a home-town victory with half the riders in the second round repping the local flag, but flying Frenchman and World #2 Simon Delestre and his 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding Sultan du Chateau were destined to play spoiler with a jump-off time of 31.71 seconds.
Second place went to the passionate round laid down by Belgian hero Jerome Guery on Papillon Z, who took runners up honors by a mere 2/10s of a second with a jump-off time of 31.99. Harrie Smolders and Don VHP Z were third with a slower but cleaner 34.9. The podium finishers were the only combinations to go fault-free in the event, as others brought down rails in the first or jump-off round.
The lone representative at Mechelen from the US and Tuesday night’s Land Rover Masters victor, Lauren Hough, was not able to replicate the previous day’s class. An unlucky rail meant ultimately finishing just outside the money in 14th aboard longtime partner, Ohlala, but they were the fastest of the four fault rounds to continue a strong streak for the show’s final two days of competition.
Six Bar Contest
Thirteen riders contested the Six Bar class, sponsored by Flandria Rent. The class ultimately went to four rounds, with the final vertical set to 2m 07 high. Karel Cox (BEL) and Tchao de la Roque and Max Kûhner of Austria on Coeur de Lion were the last pairs standing, and ultimately tied for first place.
Third place was shared by riders from four different European countries: Douglas Lindelow and Caville of Sweden, Emanuele Gaudiano and Corbanus of Italy, Mathieu Billot and Ilena S of France, and Patrick Spits and Verdi v. Withoeve Z of Belgium.
Watch snippets of Day Three’s festivities here: