Harrie Smolders’ Grand Prix victory in Hamburg Reactions
Jan Tops, President LGCT: “It was an amazing jump off especially how Harrie rode, with his jump off so smooth. From two to three he does one or two strides less than everyone else, he is amazingly consistent. Also it is now good to see Harried qualified for the (Longines Global Champions) Super Grand Prix in Prague. Every winner of each leg qualifies for the Super Grand Prix. It is a very prestigious class and now he is part of it with four other great riders that are qualified. We are only in the 5th leg, another 11 to go and anything can happen, but we have fantastic combinations and they all want to win the Title.
Martin Fuchs (SUI), third place: “I had a good starting position being second last in the Grand Prix so I got to watch the riders before me. I saw that Harrie was very quick and my horse is naturally very fast but I knew that I had to take all the risks and maybe I came a bit too fast into the combination – it got very short in between and he had a light touch in front, but I am still very happy with third place. It’s just the second big show back for Chaplin after an injury, and he is as great as he was before and I’m really happy that he is back.
“I want to win everywhere I go, especially places like this here in Hamburg. It’s definitely a dream of mine to win here in front of this crowd, so I was for a few minutes a little disappointed that it wasn’t a victory today, but actually I am very happy with third place and Harrie was just the best today.”
Maurice Tebbel (GER), second place: “I was thinking about the fact that there was only one clear round, so I took a lot of risk and I knew Harrie was very fast — he’s a very fast rider — so I am happy about the second place. I knew that there was only one clear so I tried to be clear to get second for sure. It was an unbelievable day for me today. To win the first class with my nine-year-old stallion and then I changed my horse and he jumped amazing, so it was a very good day for me today. I was lucky that I changed.”
Harrie Smolders (NED), first place: “[Don VHP Z] is very consistent on this level. When I walked the course for the first round it looked tough so that was in our advantage at the moment. And I know he loves this place — he was second the last two years — and with seven in the jump-off I had a good shot and with this jump-off it suited him. I could make the right angles and his scope made the difference today. For sure it’s always possible to go faster, like Martin showed, and with Maurice at the end I knew there were very fast combinations who are young and hungry still to come so I was definitely not sure, but I thought a podium place was possible.
“I’m very pleased that I am qualified [for the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix]. My horses are probably not the real winners, but they are very consistent and today was one of the few chances for me to win one [of the qualifiers] and I had that feeling and the scenario went like I wanted. I am very pleased with that. I only did two Globals so far, but we will for sure be there at St Tropez and Cannes and hopefully we can climb up the leaderboard.”