Niels Bruynseels_Gancia de Muze Niels Bruynseels_Gancia de Muze

He is undoubtedly THE rider of the week and perhaps THE rider of the year! Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels dominated Grimaud’s huge ring (again) in the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s fourth CSI 5* Grand Prix.

The World number 15 on Gancia de Muze, a mount that commentators consider more and more to be “the best mare in the world currently”, finished ahead of his fellow countryman Jos Verlooy, the two-time Belgian national champion with Igor, and Italy’s Alberto Zorzi, who was third, with Vauban du Trio.

The best French performance was achieved by RogerYves Bost, the Olympic team gold medallist, who was fifth with Sangria du Coty. This combination is the process of writing its legend little by little and the Hubside Jumping de Grimaud will definitely will be one of the greatest chapters of their history. Niels Bruynseels and Gancia de Muze, who were already the winners of the 4* Grand Prix in Grimaud in July are continuing to be successful by winning the HUBSIDE JUMPING’s 5* Grand Prix.

This summer the rider said: “No words are strong enough to describe Gancia. She really is an incredible mare.” But an incredible horse is nothing without an exceptional rider. And what a rider he is! Niels Bruynseels already won the CSI 3* Grand Prix yesterday with another mare, Frenchy Vds and explained: “Tomorrow I’ll be riding Gancia de Muze in the 5* Grand Prix.

I think it will be a tricky and technical course and the time allowed will be short but Gancia is amazing and she's already had numerous wins. I’m going to have to do my utmost to ride well again tomorrow (laughs)!” The Bruynseels / Gancia combination dates back to 2015 when the mare was nine-years-old. Since then, they have won...wait for it...seven 5* Grands Prix together! Knokke, Den Bosch, Brussels twice, Cannes and now Grimaud: nothing can resist them! After the first round, fourteen combinations were qualified for today’s 1.60m Grand Prix jump-off, created by Cédric Longis, the French course designer.

The list of jump-off riders hinted that the final would be full of suspense, just like the previous HUBSIDE JUMPING’s Grands Prix. No fewer than ten nations were represented, two current Olympic team gold medallists, Ireland’s Denis Lynch, the winner of this same Grand Prix last week, the World number 2 Martin Fuchs, and naturally Niels Bruynseels, the winner of yesterday’s 3* Grand Prix: in short, some riding heavyweights, so there were bound to be some great performances. Alberto Zorzi, first to go in the jump-off, went into the lead in a time of 40.37 seconds. While Roger-Yves Bost and Sangria du Coty finished in a time of 41.41 seconds, Belgium’s Gudrun Pateet was even faster, but had one pole down with Sea Coast Pebbles Z, and Ireland’s Denis Lynch finished in 41.26 seconds, it looked like the Italian rider was going to be victorious.

Would the combinations manage to finish the jump-off clear and in a time under forty seconds? The matter was rapidly settled. Gancia de Muze and Niels Bruynseels jumped perfectly in 39.70 seconds and none of the seven following combinations managed to catch up with them. Austria’s Max Kühner finished seventh in a time of 41.61 seconds, just behind Germany’s Daniel Deusser, with Tobago Z (41.58 seconds).

Christian Ahlmann, Martin Fuchs, Henrick von Eckermann and Kevin Staut each had one pole down. Before the final combination came into the ring, Belgium was guaranteed of winning. Jos Verlooy set off in hot pursuit of his fellow countryman with Igor and made the Bruynseels camp a little nervous...but he finished in a time of 40.28 seconds, i.e. almost half a second after his fellow countryman. So it's a second win for a Belgian rider which brings the HUBSIDE JUMPING 2020’s fourth 5* Grand Prix to a close.

Niels Bruynseels: « Gancia always knows what to do and she likes winning. All I have to do is ride well! She jumped really well again today and I really felt that she jumped this course and this jumpoff very easily and enthusiastically. Gancia is naturally very quick and she’s very experienced. She knows that it’s the Grand Prix and she tries to do everything possible to be the best. We go back a long way together. We have a really special bond. Additionally, in the first round, I didn’t really look at the other riders. I don’t really base myself on the others when I am riding, Garcia as she isn’t like any other horse. I know how I need to ride my round as soon as I walk the course. She’s a mare with a lot of character. When she’s at home, she likes to stay on her own, quietly. She’s not very keen on working on the flat, so we take her outside a lot. My team and I try to do everything for her on a daily basis. We do everything possible to make sure she’s in the best conditions. She’s a princess, the star of the stables and she knows it! »

After a short week-long break, the Haras Des Grillons de Grimaud’s ring will play host to the international circuit’s best riders for two CSI 4* shows, from 8 to 11 October and then from 15 to 18 October, to bring this season in Var to a close.

Full results here.

Press release

image© Marco Villanti pour HUBSIDE JUMPING