Olivier Philippaerts Records his First Wellington Win

Olivier Philippaerts Records his First Wellington Win

Olivier Philippaerts and H&M Ikker.

It was the 24-year-old Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) who triumphed over 53 fellow competitors to take the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in week six of the 12-week 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Aboard the 10-year-old gelding H&M Ikker — who is still owned by his breeder Roger Van Nuffelen — Philippaerts posted a blistering 37.61 seconds to take an unassailable lead. Second-placed Francisco Musa (BRA) and Catch Me Imperio Egipicio were almost two seconds adrift, with the only other clear in the jump-off coming from American rider Callan Solem (Davidson), who finished third. The course designer for CSI competition this week is Ana Catlina Harris of Mexico.

Philippaerts, who is 24 and competing at WEF for the first time, said: “I watched the first [jump-off] round, but decided to just go my own round and see where I ended up; luckily it was fast enough today. He turns very well in the jump-off, which is what makes him quite fast.”

It was a particularly satisfying win on the big stage, as Philippaerts has trained the horse himself: “The owner came and asked if I wanted me to ride Ikker when he was seven, and I really liked the horse. I brought the horse up to this level, so I know him very well and I think he’s a great horse for the future. He is very easy, has a nice character, always tries very hard and wants to do everything he can. That’s why I like him so much.”

“He’s a really good outdoor horse; indoor doesn’t really suit him that well as he is big-striding, and when he is indoors it’s all very small and short strides. It’s hard for him to sit in the canter, which is why outdoors suits him much better. That’s why we brought him over here, because he needs more room and because there are the right shows for him here.

“I jumped him on the grass the first week, and it’s good to do some different rings while I’m here,” added Philippaerts, who is based in Belgium, about half an hour from Aachen. “I’ve visited Wellington once or twice before, but this is the first time I’ve brought some horses over and I like it; it’s a very interesting thing to try.”

Ikker will contend Friday’s grand prix class before having a week off and then returning for WEF 8 (February 28-March 4).

Results HERE


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