The last and most anticipated event of the Longines EEF Series Semi Final Budapest CSIO***-W was the 150 cm Grand Prix held for the prize of the Hungarian Equestrian Association, where the placed riders could collect Longines World Ranking points. In addition, riders were able to qualify for the 2021 European Championships in Riesenbeck and the 2022 Leipzig World Cup Final. The total prize money was 52,000 euros, for which 52 riders competed, including 9 Hungarians.
Despite the changing weather, plenty of spectators visited the National Riding Hall, so the competitors could ride in front of an almost crowded grandstand and in a fantastic atmosphere, which has rarely been given to them since the outbreak of the COVID epidemic.
The track consisted of 13 obstacles and 16 efforts, including two 160-centimeter verticals. It was not the height that was a problem for the horses, as there were only few faults on these two obstacles, rather the closing triple combination continued with five long strides and a wide oxer and the very tight time allowed. To avoid the unpleasant time-penalties riders tried to take turns as narrowly as possible, some even turned inside before the water. Thus, it is not surprising that even with the high number of starters not many riders qualified for the jump-off. Four were able to stay clear, with an addition of two who had no faults, only time-penalties. The dominance of the German Nations Cup winning team was clear, with three of their four riders and the Swiss Romain Duguet were expected to return to elevated heights.
The 24 years old Sophie Hinners was the first one to go, who cleared the jump-off with a safe ride and a quick time.
Sophie Hinners – Vittorio
She was followed by Romain Duguet, one of the most accomplished riders of the show, who did not excel in the Nations Cup with his other horse, but this time took the lead from Sophine with a brilliant ride with Bel Canto de Boguin.
Romain Duguet – Bel Canto de Boguin
Another very young German talent, the 23-year-old Cedric Wolf came next and he presented a very continuous, lightning-fast ride that beat the lead time by two seconds, but perhaps due to too much risk, his horse DSP Chicitito touched the last pole and with the special, flatter cups it resulted in four penalties for the pair. The last one to go was Jana Wargers, who rode the course cold-blooded and just fast enough to take the lead, winning the CSIO *** – W Grand Prix of Budapest. Her horse, the 12-year-old Limbridge is owned by Steve Jobs’ daughter, Eve Jobs. What is certain is that Limbridge’s exceptional ability is coupled with outstanding ridability, so they won the porcelain trophy made by Zsolnay with an eye-catching performance.
Jana Wargers – Limbridge
So the final order was Jana Wargers, Romain Duguet, Sophie Hinners and Cedric Wolf, and then, despite her young age, Virág Weinhardt, one of the most successful competitors in Hungary, finished in fifth place. With her horse Chiclana, she finished without having a pole down after a sensational course, but unfortunately, beyond 35 hundreds of seconds, she could not beat the time allowed, just like Stefan Eder following her.
Virág Weinhardt already accomplished a number of outstanding international successes, as she is the only one in the country to hold a European Championship title for children, a silver medalist in the Hungarian Championship, and a winner of numerous Grand Prixes. She was the best in the Budapest World Cup held during the winter, and even now she enriched her long list of results with a fantastic placing.
Weinhardt Virág – Chiclana
The seventh was Elin Ott, who had a fault on the fourth vertical and after she routinely switched to a faster pace, knowing that a fast four-penalty round could also bring her a good result. Her tactic payed off, just like the winner’s of the Szilvásvárad Masters Grand Prix, Uhr Bauman who finished the class in eighth place with Larissa.
Representing the Hungarians István Máté Jr. continued his excellent performance after Szilvásvárad, and he was able to take home the tenth place with Sanghata, owned by Gábor Szombati. The member of the Hungarian young rider team, Péter Szuhai was also showing that he is in great shape. He will be participating in the European Youth Championship next week with his other horse Tanja, now competing with his second horse, Casino Royal Z. The chestnut gelding came to him in May, so they are still getting to know each other, yet they crossed the finish line with one fault and a small timeout, projecting a nice future together.
Gyula Dallos was congratulating the competitors, the all-time Hungarian dressage champion and ministerial commissioner, and Vilmos Lázár, the president of the Hungarian Equestrian Association. The beautiful Zsolnay porcelain awards were presented to the riders by Petra Cséplő, representing the company.
Translation: Réka Sopronyi
Photo: CSIO Budapest / Krisztina Hajdu