Niels Bruynseels wins the Grand Prix
Also in the eighth Longines Grand Prix at the CSI Basel no Swiss was able to win. Even though they finished with satisfying results, like Martin Fuchs as 5th, Steve Guerdat as 9th and Paul Estermann as 11th, the winner of the cheque over 100 000 Swiss Francs was once again a rider from a foreign nation – this time the 33-year-old Belgian Niels Bruynseels aboard his mare Gancia de Muze. Bruynseels was rewarded for his brisk ride in the winning round. The father of two sons from Bonheiden was nearly a second faster than the British experienced John Whitaker with Ornellaia and the Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander aboard Lintea Tequila that finished as 2nd and 3rd on the podium. The only Swiss without a fault in the fast final round was Martin Fuchs with Clooney. The Swiss Champion 2016 had a tactical good course, but was too slow the reach the podium. But the 5th place is a good success for the 9th at the Olympic Games. Steve Guerdat and his inexperienced 12-year-old Westphalian Big Red had one mistake at the wall. As last in the arena Paul Estermann failed with Lord Pepsi over the last jump. Without this fault he would have finished as best Swiss rider.
Double success for Swiss riders
Great joy and a big applause for the Swiss riders on the third tournament day at the Longines CSI Basel. With a crowd of 5 200 spectators Pius Schwizer aboard Balou Rubin won the main competition of Saturday with a total price winning money of 50 000 Swiss Francs. Schwizer got 12 500 Swiss Francs for his victory. For his also fast and clear round in the jump-off Werner Muff with Fleur received e cheque worth 7500 Swiss Francs. 22 of the 54 participating riders reached the jump-off after a too easy first course with a quadruple combination (!). Pius Schwizer showed his top form and realised aboard the Oldenburg gelding Balou Rubin already the fourth victory for Switzerland in the St. Jakobshalle, which Werner Muff with Fleur brought to a further success. Schwizer is still the best rider of the tournament before the main competition starts on Sunday: the Longines Grand Prix with a total price winning money of 330 000 Swiss Francs. A course that up to now no Swiss rider has won.
The Swiss Züger was the best
Philipp Züger was thrilled and had a great applause: since 2012 he is back in the Swiss Elite Team again and in the speed competition at the Longines CSI Basel he showed all other competitors how fast he can be. Aboard the grey stallion Castus the 30-year-old rider from Galgenen left all the speed specialists behind him. Pius Schwizer with his Swiss gelding Leonard de la Ferme was seven hundredths slower, but is still wearing the brassard as best rider of the CSI Basel. Luca Moneta from Italy, the second in the current World Cup ranking lost over half a second with Neptune Brecourt, what ment place three. The German Hans-Dieter Dreher aboard Cim Air finished fourth followed by last year’s winner Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA)/Carlotta and World Cup winner Steve Guerdat aboard Albführen's Happiness. Gaudiano had the fastest time in the speed course from course designer Frank Rothenberger, but had like Guerdat’s fast mare Happiness one rail down. Züger received 7 500 Swiss Francs for his speed ride. “It’s the first time I won in Basel. It’s one of my best victories” commented the happy double European Champion of the Young Riders of 2008. “Every turn and distance matched from the beginning to the end”. The nine-year-old Danish grey has a good ground speed and also quite some potential. He has already proved this with a success in a World Cup class at the CSI Humlikon and with a 2nd place in the small Grand Prix at the CSI St Moritz.
Henri Sturzenegger wins the Amateur Final
25 000 Swiss Francs was the dotation of the Amateur Final at the Longines CSI Basel. And was won by a local rider: Henri Sturzenegger from Liestal in the canton Basel-Land. With only a slightly better time the 19-year-old aboard his ten-year-old grey Holstein Cronos won the exciting jump-off, followed by the Belgian Ignace Philips and the Swiss Iris Gautschi from the canton Zürich. After seven obstacles with eight jumps the future law student had a lead of exactly five hundredths on the husband of Jane Richard Philips with Dream di San Patrignano and twelve hundredths on Iris Gautschi aboard Cartaja. The young rider Sturzenegger, who won the silver medal at the Junior Swiss Championship 2013 took quite a risk: the shortest possible way towards an upright fence after the double combination. “Without this risk I wouldn’t have won” he stated. The protégé of Hansueli Sprunger rids the grey Cronos since six years and harmonizis better and better with the bustling horse. With his prize money of 6 150 Swiss Francs he invited his whole family that was watching as well as his girl-friend that came specially from Geneva to a victory drink.
Bengtsson wins the Golden Drum again
Like in 2012 the winner of the Championat of Basel at the 8th Longines CSI in the St. Jakobshalle is Rolf-Göran Bengtsson. The Holstein stallion Casall was the oldest horse in the competition, but in the jump-off he was the best. The Italian military rider Lorenzo de Luca with Halifax only lost three hundredths seconds in the jump-off with a clear round against the experienced Swede. With Casall the second at the Olympic Games 2008 and European Champion 2011 has already won about five million Swiss Francs on price winning money. Last year’s winner Simon Delestre had one rail down and missed winning the Golden Drum as well as Niklaus Rutschi aboard Windsor. The rider from the canton Lucerne was like last year the only Swiss that reached the jump-off, but after a refusal missed his ambitions and with a great time loss had to be satisfied with place 5. Walter Gabathuler astonished: the 62-year-old rider finished at his international comeback after 25 years aboard the grey Fine Fleur with a calm ride as 8th und was second best Swiss. The experienced rider didn’t have any rails down and only had a time fault. Fabio Crotta and Tess, Martin Fuchs aboard Chaplin and Pius Schwizer with Future all had one rail down and finished as 9th, 10th and 11th.
Guerdat happy with Happiness
Successful start for the Swiss show jumpers on the second day of the 8th Longines CSI Basel In the first Word Ranking class of the day it was Steve Guerdat that was extra happy. The World Cup winner won aboard the Dane mare Albführen's Happiness with nearly two seconds faster than his team mate Pius Schwizer with Balou Rubin. The course had eleven fences and 13 jumps over 145 cm. Werner Muff with Daimler finished 4th and Bryan Balsiger, the young trainer at Thomas Fuchs’ stables in Bietenholz, aboard Cupido was 5th. In the final ranking 8 Swiss riders were among the 14 in the price winning money. Guerdat’s success aboard Happiness didn’t surprise. The eleven-year-old mare is world-class over the height of 150 cm. This is shown with her successes at five-star-tournaments in Paris, Verona and Calgary and the total amount of 150’000 Swiss Francs that she won last year. The 4th at the Olympic Games is aboard the chestnut horse since Sommer 2014. Before that, the fast mare was ridden by Alexandra Fricker.
Cool and easy
Nearly a home victory was applauded by 5 400 spectators in the main competition on the opening day of the 8th Longines CSI Basel. The German Hans-Dieter Dreher, that lives in Eimeldingen near the Swiss boarder had the fastest clear round with Cool and Easy and won 12 500 Swiss Francs. Second was same as end of August last year in the Grand Prix in St. Moritz the resilient British rider Michael Whitaker with Viking, followed by the Frenchman Simon Delestre with Sultan du Château. Romain Duguet, member of the Swiss Olympic Team, was the best Swiss with Twentytwo des Biches as fourth. Also clear was Paul Estermann from the canton Lucerne aboard Lord Pepsi as 8th. Werner Muff (11th with Pollendr) and the young rider Bryan Balsiger (14th with Ornett de Galaste), who was competing for the first time in Basel, were also in the final ranking. Dreher, who won the Grand Prix last year at the CSIO St. Gallen with the Holstein grey from Paul Bücheler, won the competition with his risky, narrow turn in front of the triple. The first of the nine World Ranking competitions had an Italian double victory. 30-year-old Carabinieri Emanuele Gaudiano repeated last year’s first place aboard Carlotte, followed by his compatriot Luca Maria Moneta with Neptune. Third on the podium was the Swiss Steve Guerdat with his nine-year-old mare Dioleen.
Swiss Top Riders without their top Horses
The Swiss Elite riders will be missing some of their top horses at the 8th Longines CSI Basel. Janika Sprunger’s Olypmic horse Bonne Chance is having a break till spring. Steve Guerdat, that missed out on the tournament last year, will be competing in the international courses that start the year of the European Championship without his cracks Bianca and World Cup winner Corbinian. Steve Guerdat, who is moving from Herrliberg to Elgg beginning of February, will trust on the 12-year-old Westphalian chestnut Big Red, Albführens Happiness and the Dutch mare Dioleen. The fourth of the Olympic Games is convinced, that the management of the horses is very important, what he manages perfectly with his horses. Bianca will be competing in the World Cup Final end March/beginning April in Omaha in the US-county Nebraska, Corbinian is in training and will possibly compete at the European Championship end August in Gothenburg.