VICTORIES for Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Brazil in the top-level classes rounded off the first week of the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour at Oliva Nova (Oliva, Valencia province) yesterday.
German and Swiss combinations dominated the leader board, although this year, only two British riders have taken part so far in the professional-level – Gold and Silver – classes.
Today – Monday – is a day off for horses and riders, and tomorrow – Tuesday – will see the first of three days of classes for young horses aged five, six and seven.
Sunday's Gold Grand Prix, with fences of 1.45 metres (4'10”), was won by Brazil's Marlon Zanotelli on Ode des Roches in an impressively-fast time of 48.16 seconds, nearly two seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
Switzerland's Simone Wettstein and Daniel Etter on ClipMyHorse Cash & Go and Constanzia 3 came second and fourth, with Germany's Jörg Oppermann on Che Guevara and Marc Bettinger on Quannan R third and fifth following a first round with only nine clears and a jump-off with just three.
Two Spaniards made it to the top five in the Gold 2 – Javier Salvador on Verona in second place and Alberto Márquez Galobardes on Chekane in fifth – a class won by Ireland's Kevin Thornton on Harvey VII with Marc Bettinger on Fortunato third and Israel's only rider so far, Uri Burstein, on Vazal in fourth position.
Bettinger was on a roll yesterday, also taking third in the Silver Grand Prix on Mélan du Malnuit, just ahead of his compatriot Jörg Oppermann on Candina in a competition won by a Spanish rider – Diana Marsa, a regular competitor at last year's Mediterranean Equestrian Tour on Crusella, a clear five seconds ahead of second-placed Paolo Mencolini on Dansecour de Muze for Italy.
A very low turn-out for the Bronze (amateur) Grand Prix did not preclude the seven competitors from producing some well-ridden rounds, and the Belgian national anthem at the end hailed Sophie Geurts on her dark bay gelding Othello de Felines as winner with the only double clear, followed by the UK's Ashley Ray – back in Oliva and sweeping the board with her sister MacKenzie for another year – on Witro, the only other combination in the jump-off who lost out when the bay gelding had number six down.
The next 'serious' competitions will start again this Friday through to Sunday inclusive, with three Bronze classes for amateur showjumpers, three Silver classes and four Gold for professional riders.
Photo 1: Diana Marsa on Crusella, for Spain.
Photo 2: Marlon Zanotelli on Ode des Roches, from Brazil, winner of the Gold Grand Prix