Gábor Szabó Jr. started the Gróf Széchenyi István Memorial with great success, as he won both the Silver and Gold Tour on the first day. We asked the rider about his horses, the field and the odds before the second day of the four-day event.
You finished on the podium with all three of your horses taking first and third place in the Gold Tour and winning the Silver Tour on the first day of the Count István Széchenyi Memorial. Did you expect such a fantastic start?
Gábor Szabó Jr.: Due to the pandemic situation, there is a great probability that I will not be able to participate in other international competitions this year, so the current event is the most important challenge for me this year along with the National Championship. It’s why I would like to give my all in these two competitions, so I kept that in mind during preparation and when timing my horses’ form. I was confident that my horses would be in good form and I am glad that I managed to achieve such good results.
Chabal TH is one of the surprises of the Gold Tour, as this was his first three-star competition, and in spite of this he finished third in a large field of 110 riders.
Gábor Szabó Jr.: Chabal started competing only about 2.5 years ago, and he showed major improvement competing so well at 150 cm. He is a newcomer at this level as this was one of his first international competitions after a successful and solid performance at the national events. I really have a feeling that he has grown up to the challenge and looks forward to a promising future.
Lord Classic has proved himself in many of the biggest national competitions. What are your plans for him? Do you consider eventually entering him in the European Championships, for example?
Gábor Szabó Jr.:Due to the pandemic situation, it is quite hard at the moment for everyone to make plans, so unfortunately, I can’t tell what will happen next year or later. I don’t know what prestigious competitions could be for the foreseeable future, but I honestly hope that we will soon receive news about upcoming events we can target.
How do you consider your chances for the Grand Prix? What do you think about the field and other competitors?
Gábor Szabó Jr.: As in the past months, there were few international competitions organised, everybody wants to compete here and now with such a strong field arriving in Budapest, many riders consider it a crucial stage. That’s why I think it will be quite difficult to finish among the top riders in the Grand Prix, especially since my horse, Lord Classic hasn’t got a real routine yet at 160 cm. However, I hope that he will jump well. I trust him as he is in good form and I think he will perform well.
You have already won a CSIO with Timpex Cent here in Budapest, now you started with his son, Timpex Fényév in the Silver Tour and you won again. What are your feelings?
Gábor Szabó Jr.: Last year we took first place at several CSIs in Hungary, so I can confidently say that Timpex Fényév is an emerging talent with a bright future ahead.
Those interested can also follow the event from the comfort of their home. Major competition events will be broadcasted on the Hungarian television channel M4 Sport. The competition events are broadcast live by Riderline:
Written by: Virág Szalontai
Photo: CSIO Budapest / Hajdu Krisztina