Dutch showjumper Michel Hendrix hailed the “biggest win” of his career after landing the Bolesworth CSI4* International four-star grand prix on Sunday.
The audience raised a glass to the appropriately-named Baileys after Hendrix guided the 10-year-old gelding to victory by more than three seconds in the jump-off of Bolesworth’s headline class, sponsored by Equerry Horse Feeds.
Thirteen combinations went through from round one, including the solitary British clear — defending champiom Yazmin Pinchen — and four managed double clears, but no-one threatened Hendrix’s time of 43.88 seconds as he won a top prize of £19,500.
Colombia’s Roberto Teran came closest, clocking 47.11 seconds aboard Brilliant du Rouet, while Cheshire-based Paul Kennedy was third on Cartown Danger Mouse, with Pinchen claiming fourth on Ashkari.
“It was an absolutely great win,” Hendrix said.
“My horse is jumping really well lately. We were very close a few times in past grands prix, and finally today it happened. That would be our biggest win.
“It was a tough course. When I walked it, I thought it was big enough.
“The triple combination was quite fair, but the last line was very difficult. In the end, I took seven strides to the last double, and he cleared it very well. There were no issues with the rain — the footing is so great here.
“I have had the horse about 18 months and built him up from 1.30-metre classes. He is an unbelievable fighter in the ring, very careful and scopey.
“Baileys has been very consistent here this week. I knew that Laura (Kraut) was to go after me, and she is very fast, so I thought I had better give it a go, and it worked out well.”
Kennedy, too, was delighted “The horse is a 10-year-old home-bred. My parents were here today, so it was a special day.
“It is almost a local show for us, with being based only 15 minutes down the road, and once again Nina Barbour and the team here have done an amazing job.”
Earlier, Gudrun Patteet continued a run of Belgian success at this year’s Bolesworth when she won the speed and handiness four-star class, sponsored by Mumm Champagne.
Less than 24 hours after her fellow Belgian rider Francois Mathy Jr won two Bolesworth classes, Patteet came up trumps on Sea Coast B52 FZ — and it was Mathy Jr who had to play second fiddle in the International Arena.
The competition sees time added for fences knocked down, but Patteet jumped clear in a time of 53.65 seconds to take top spot from Mathy Jr, riding Casanova de L’Herse on 54.83 seconds, with Laura Kraut and Andretti S third, just ahead of Sweden’s Angelie von Essen with Cream Sheridan.
“I know Francois is really fast, so I had to go quickly, but I enjoy these classes with my horse as she is really fast,” said Gudrun, who is based in Flanders and was making her Bolesworth debut this year.
“She is only eight-years-old, so still a baby, really, and is one of my up and coming horses.
“I know with her that if I go for it, then she is really fast. She is a small horse, but she has a really big heart and is so careful.”