It was a thrilling Grand Prix at Valkenswaard because the rain kept pouring down. ‘Now we know it’s rainproof’, Jan Tops, founder of the Global Champions Tour, joked. And Tops had quite some reasons to smile because the new complex at Valkenswaard is absolutely stunning. ‘You always hope, but you never know before how things are working’, said Tops. ‘Myself, and my whole team work day and night. They are great people, they give always the maximum effort and without them it would not be realised. We have a vision always and we have a goal, but when it works out like this it is always a dream come true.’
But back to the GP now. It was more like ‘rain rain go away’ but 18 riders made it to the second round. Only 6 rode a double clear round: Marco Kutscher, Simon Delestre, Bassem Hassan Mohammed, Henk Van de Pol, Gregory Wathelet and Scott Brash. Home rider Henk Van de Pol was the first one to go in the jump-off and the crowd really supported him. Still he was not very happy when he came out of the ring even though he was clear. But then the fast riders came in and Bassem Hassan Mohammed was the fastest one, then Simon Delestre and then there was Marco Kutscher. When he was on his way to the arena Ludger Beerbaum was yelling pointers to him from the bridge. I don’t know if he followed those tips but everything worked out for the German rider. He won with the very inexperienced Van Gogh.
‘From my point of view, I still can’t really believe it, van Gogh has not really been competing on this level much as my other two horses are injured’, says Kutcher. ‘I chose him for this show and he did a great job today in the jump off; he was amazing and Simon left a little door open so I’m happy. I’ve won three or four LGCT Grand Prix, but I am especially happy today because I did’t expect it at all. Some shows you come to knowing that your horse is in good shape, then you are almost disappointed when your horse doesn’t work, but this way was absolutely the other way round and it makes it very special. I don’t think I have won any class with him so far and so to win a 5* Grand Prix is amazing.’ Also good news for Scott Brash. He still the Global Champions Tour ranking but was unhappy with his four faults in the jump-off. ‘I took a chance and that is the way it goes’, Brash says. ‘He is still a superstar. We are in a good position.’