MET 3: Two Irish and one Dutch win in the CSIYH1* young horse finals
The 5-, 6- and 7-year-old horses competed in their respective CSIYH1* finals at the Spring MET 3 on Wednesday. Two Irish victories and one Dutch was the result, with Barry Drea on Okehurst Mr Mexico, Neal Fearon on Tuilleadh Uisce Beatha and Bart van der Maat on Iron Man 15 taking home the top honors.
Bart van der Maat (NED) topped the 1.40m final for the 7-year-old horses with Iron Man 15 (Indoctro x Diamant de Semilly). The 22-year-old stable jockey from Stall Bengtsson & Kristoffersen piloted the KWPN stallion – bred at the VDL Stud – to victory in a final that saw sixteen out of its 63 horse-and-rider combinations moving on to the jump-off.
Coming in towards the end of the jump-off, Van der Maat did an incredible round shaving off 2.22 seconds on Marcel Wegfarth’s (GER) leading time aboard the Oldenburger stallion Carnan (Cartogran x Kannan). It was a good day for the Dutch riders, that also filled up the third and fifth position with Ivo Biessen on the Hannoveraner stallion Cloney’s Pleasure (Cloney x For Pleasure) and Bart Haselbekke on the Oldenburger mare Luziana (Lord Pezi x Laurion) – while Jennie Juhlin (SWE) squeezed in between the two in fourth place riding the Holsteiner mare Fiona (Cachas x Cambridge). The top five where the only ones that managed to produce double clears in the final for the 7-year-old horses.
“Iron Man is a really fast horse, he has a nice forward going canter and a quick jump which is very useful in a jump-off,” said Van der Maat after his win. “There were not too many options in the jump-off as it was a lot of long lines, so I just kept on going with him to the finish line and it worked out well.”
“During our first two weeks here at the Spring MET we took our time, and did a lot of schooling rounds with the horses. It paid off, and today I was allowed to play around a bit more,” Van der Maat added about the program set by his coach Bo Kristoffersen who works alongside European Champion and Olympic Vice Champion Rolf-Göran Bengtsson at Stall Bengtsson & Kristoffersen in Breitenburg, Germany,
“I have to thank Iron Man’s owners for the trust and confidence they have showed me. I have been riding him since I arrived at Stall Bengtsson & Kristoffersen around six months ago, and he has grown a lot since then – now he really thinks with us and attacks the fences,” said the happy winner.
Like many others, Bart van der Maat praised the facilities at the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour. “The good thing here with the three rings, is that the youngsters get to see a bit of everything and also jump on grass. Then you can take them to the beach, which is nice so that every day is not the same for them – variety is important for the young horses,” Van der Maat said. “I also find the Tour to be very well organized and with a good program.”
Irish riders brought home the victories in the finals for the 5- and 6-year-old horses. Barry Drea guided the AES gelding Okehurst Mr Mexico to the win in the final for the 5-year-old horses set at 1.15m, after a jump-off that counted sixteen horses with thirteen of them jumping double clear rounds.
It was a comfortable win for the Irish rider, who had 1.37 seconds down to runner-up Jan Distel (GER) on the Holsteiner gelding Filipo 14 (Fidelio du Donjon x Caretino 2). Krzysztof Okla (POL) followed in third aboard the Holsteiner stallion Neymar de Reve (without registered breeding) while fourth went to Jasmin Ranta-Aho (FIN) on the Zambesi-son Zinedine Zidane Z and fifth to Anastasiia Yershova (UKR) on the BWP stallion Marlon vd Heffinck (Desir du Chateau x Diabeau van de Heffinck).
The Irish bred stallion Tuilleadh Uisce Beatha (Ustinov x Clover Echo) topped the 6-year-old 1.30m finals with Neal Fearon in the saddle after a jump-off that counted no less than thirty horse-and-rider combinations, 21 of them jumping double clear rounds to show their quality.
Fearon had more than one second down to runner-up Christoffer Lindenberg (DEN) on the BWP gelding Loverboy (Andiamo Z x Quick Star). Then followed Mareille van Geel-Schröder (NED) in third place riding the KWPN mare Gerdinieke (Bacardi VDL x Oklund), while Cyril Cools (BEL) placed fourth on the SF mare Bali des Cedres Verts (Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel) and Bronislav Chudyba (SVK) fifth on the KWPN mare Gijanta (Ukato x Celano).
The Spring MET 3 concludes on Sunday, with a CSI3* Grand Prix before competition resumes on the 11th of April for the last part of the Tour – the Spring MET 4.
Full results can be found here.