Czech fans could not have asked for a better ending of the CSI2*-W Prague Arena international jumping competitions. Aleš Opatrný on Gentlemen vh Veldhof secured a thrilling victory in the Grand Prix after winning the jump-off.
A total of 40 qualified riders took part in the most difficult competition of the CSI2*-W Prague Arena on Sunday. The Grand Prix, which was a part of the FEI World Cup series, included fences up to 160 centimetres. Nine pairs stayed clear after the basic round and emerged into the jump-off.
The Czech hope Opatrný on Getlemen vh Veldhof was the fastest of them. With the time of 35.58 seconds he beat his rivals by more than a second.
The contest proved once again, that the Polish team came to Prague in very good shape. After a series of victories during the four days of the meeting Poland took the second and third place in the main competition. Jaroslaw Skrzyczynski on Jericho completed the course in 37.11 seconds. On the winners' podium he was joined by team mate Krzysztof Ludwiczak, who rode Niko and finished the jump-off in 37.97.
In the basic round, many riders had trouble with the double jump, which was at a distance with the triple bar. The final passage, consisting of three jumps, was also problematic, the first of which was the famous jump in the design of the Czech flag.
"I was predicting six or seven clean performances, but the time was quite free today so we didn't have to rush so much and there were more better riders and horses towards the end of the field. Sometimes it works out like that, anyway the course designer did a great job. For sure the most difficult passage was at the end of the course, from the Czech flag to the finish," said Aleš Opatrný.
Chuchle Arena Prague will not remain empty for long. From 5 to 9 May, it will host another important meeting, the CSIO3* CET Prague Cup, which has two sporting highlights – the Nations Cup on Friday and the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Photo courtesy by Kateřina Návojová, CSI2*-W Prague Arena
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