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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Ukraine's Katharina Offel blows the socks off the competition


Patrice Delaveau wins opening 5* in Valkenswaard

World's top horses in 9th Grand Prix of the series

Published: Friday, August 16th 2013

Ukraine's Katharina Offel blows the socks off the competition
It was Ukraine's Katharina Offel who truly mastered this evening’s class with an impressive jump off execution aboard her lovely bay gelding Pour le Poussage. The German-born Ukranian lady rider is no stranger to success and certainly grits it out with the very best all over the world. So truthfully, it was no surprise the Olympic rider bested all the boys and landed the lead in a fifteen horse jump off with a time of 41.06 seconds.

Katharina Offel and Pour le Poussage triumph
It was a strong class of 49 combinations with plenty of international talent that would certainly confirm to many of the riders, despite their confidence during the course walk, that today's win would not be such an easy acquisition. As Tiffany Foster confirmed, the course, set by Italy's Uliano Vezzani, was set large enough for the first day but offered the riders enough breadth that we all could expect a jump off of impressive measures.
The first to jump clear was in fact the first combination to compete; Great Britain's Alexandra Thornton, who was clean and confident with her 11-year-old gelding Caballero 84. Jumping to a time of 50.44 seconds, the young British jockey was conservative but clear which meant she could expect a decent result. Despite best efforts from seriously fast combinations such as Kent Farrington and Blue Angel as well as Daniel Deusser and Mouse, it was Germany's Hans-Dieter Dreher who impressed the Dutch crowd with one of his classically fast and well-deserved rounds, crossing the finish line aboard Embassy II with a time of 41.22 seconds.
Everyone attempted to unseat the Germany jockey, who maintains a strong presence in the sport of international show jumping. Quiet and soft spoken, Hans-Dieter Dreher is certainly one of the hardest working riders during a round of competition. Fighting for every inch, Dreher rides every round as if it were his last.
Drawing close to the end of the class, it was the Ukraine's lady of steel, the lovely Katharina Offel who blew everyone's socks off with a fantastic round aboard her relatively new mount, the 10 year old Westphalian gelding Pour le Poussage. This combination have impressed through out the season, so it really came as no surprise.
Landing after the final fence, Katharina managed to shave .16 seconds off Dreher's time and land the lead for Ukraine, pushing Hans-Dieter to second place. World number one ranked rider and season ranking leader Christian Ahlmann finished in third position after a solid attempt aboard the adorable Little Lady Z. The hosting nation would be pleased as their very own Harrie Smolders finished in fourth position aboard Regina Z.
A wonderful conclusion to our first day of competition as we look to tomorrow's Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Valkenswaard. Who will win this year?

Patrice Delaveau wins opening 5* in Valkenswaard
It was Frenchman Patrice Delaveau who kicked things off this morning with an excellent win for Haras des Coudrettes. Riding his 9 year old Selle Francais gelding Quenndal de Lojou HDC, the original HDC rider landed the top spot late in the class, at 38th in the order.

Patrice Delaveau nails it in the opening 5*
It was the young 2012 US Olympian, Reed Kessler, who held on to the top spot for the majority of the morning. Completing a very quick round aboard Soraya de l'Obstination, an 11-year-old mare acquired by Kessler show stables last year. This eccentric chestnut mare is actually the half sister of Reed's all-star Olympic mount Cylana. Landing the lead early on in the class, Reed guided her mount to a strong time of 56.18 seconds.

Reed Kessler on Soraya de l'Obstination
Plenty of top riders attempted to catch the US combination, such as Katharina Offel and MCB Sommerwind as well as Denmark's Andreas Schou and Quimono De La Roque but alas the young Kessler remained on top. But despite her best efforts, on an exciting mount that should
prove to be a very competitive speed horse for one of USA's top young talents, Kessler in the end had to pass off the lead to France's very own Patrice Delaveau.
In his usual smooth style, Patrice was textbook and calm through out his round, demonstrating his experience and skill, landing the lead just under a second faster then Kessler, with a time of 55.15 seconds.
It was great to see Canada's top riders Eric Lamaze and Tiffany Foster both in the international ring. Eric Lamaze, who had a very successful summer at Spruce Meadows, was kind enough to join us here in Valkenswaard and we are overjoyed to have the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and previous world number one competing here this week. Riding his newly acquired Powerplay, a horse we are well acquainted with, as the 9 year old gelding was previously ridden under Switzerland's Pius Schwizer. But now riding for Artisan Farms and the red and white of the Canadian flag, Eric and Powerplay look to be a promising combination for Canada.
A strong contingent of US talent was very present in this morning's class with Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden, Paige Johnson, Reed Kessler, Laura Kraut and Meagan Nusz all representing the stars and stripes on this side of the Atlantic. Congratulations to Patrice and his team on an excellent early win here in Valkenswaard and well-done riders for a successful start to an exciting weekend of Longines Global Champions Tour competition.

World's top horses in 9th Grand Prix of the series
The spectacular cast list for Saturday's Grand Prix is truly world class with the biggest equine stars in the world on parade. In bright sunshine today USA rider Richard Spooner and Cristallo - 16th on the ranking with a 40-point victory in Monte-Carlo and high scores in Estoril and Madrid - were already in action in the first 5* competition of event with Christian Ahlmann on Taloubet Z.

The star-studded list for the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of the Netherlands will see the champions of show jumping go into battle for the ninth leg of the circuit - with only three legs to go before the final event in Qatar in November.
Ludger Beerbaum and his star Chaman, Edwina Tops-Alexander's legendary Cevo Itot du Chateau and Christian Ahlmann on Taloubet Z are just three of the extraordinary horses that will ensure a supersonic Grand Prix where precision, speed and scope will be needed for Uliano Vezzani's challenging course.
Among the top performers in the world of show jumping will be:
Taloubet Z
Tripple X III
Cevo Itot du Chateau
AD Rahmanhof's Bogeno
All the action will be broadcast via the Longines Global Champions Tour live streaming service on

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