Germany’s Daniel Deusser described his win in the Rolex Grand Prix, presented by Porsche at Knokke Hippique in Belgium, as “my greatest victory” and the thousands of spectators enjoying the sunshine of the coastal town of Knokke were hard pushed to disagree.
Riding Equita van het Zorgvliet (owned by the Stephex Stables), Daniel was one of 19 competitors who went through to the jump-off. Ben Maher and Boomerang set the early target in this, with a second clear in a time of 40sec, and right up until the last three riders, no one came close to this.
It was France’s Philippe Rozier, riding Rahotep de Toscane, who showed that 40 seconds could be beaten when he posted a blistering clear in 39.39. He was followed by Daniel, who had already enjoyed success in a 1.50m class aboard Equita van het Zorgvliet, and the in-form partnership posted a time of 39.32 seconds to race into first place.
Despite going clear aboard the magnificent bay gelding Nino des Buissonnets, the reigning Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat, last out in the jump-off, could only manage a time of 39.96, and had to settle for third place.
It is a remarkable win at 5* level for Equita van het Zorgvliet, who a year ago won her first 3* Grand Prix with Jonna Ekberg for the Stephex Stables. Daniel Deusser began riding Equita only two months ago, with the plan to campaign the mare at 5* level throughout the summer. Following good showings at Saint Tropez, Cannes and Rotterdam, this is the first victory at 5* level, and has all the signs of being a partnership to watch for the future.
Speaking after his victory, Daniel said, “As a rider you are always hoping for a result like this, but you don’t even dare to dream of it. This victory is the perfect finish of a perfect show. Even if I am part of the Stephex team I have to congratulate all the team for what they are doing. It is only the second edition but looks already like one of the best shows in the world.”
And commenting about his plans for the future, Steve Guerdat said, “It was my last big Grand Prix before the Olympics with Nino; he will maybe do a small show before, but I am really happy and he looks in a really great shape.” He also praised the organisers of the Knokke Hippique for “such an amazing show.”
This is only the second staging of Knokke Hippique but with the show offering over €570,000 prize money and able to attract many of the world’s Top Ten riders including six Olympic gold medallists, it has quickly established itself as one of the major CSI5* events of the summer.