This is not the story of an “old couple”: Edwina Tops Alexander and the young Vleut have only known each other since August. And yet things quickly developed into fabulous results, as tonight they can proudly call themselves the winners of one of the two major classes in the 5* jumping of Lyon, the Equita Masters by Equidia.
Thirteen riders started the high-level class, the twelve best riders of the event according to the FEI Rolex world ranking, as well as the current World Champion, the Belgian rider Philippe Le Jeune and Boyante de Muze, who end up on the fourth place due to a bar rail in the first round.
In order to win tonight, the riders had to not only make clear rounds but they also needed to pick up the pace. Only two of them successfully made it through the first round with all the bar rails still in their cups: the Irish star Denis Lynch and the Australian Edwina. Both of them riding very young horses aged 8 and 9 years. Denis Lynch was not able to take all the risks, but ensured a second clear round with his very spectacular Contflex (55.85). Edwina then only had to do the exact same thing a tiny bit faster:
“At first I did not know which horse I was going to jump, but then I decided to save Itot du Château for tomorrow, for the World Cup. It’s my first Grand Prix with this horse and at the age of 9 he is still quite young. He already participated in a few Grand Prix at two or three star level, some with Michael van der Vleuten and some with Eric van der Vleuten, but this was his first class at 1,60m. Both van der Vleutens bred the horse and brought him up. I was very fortunate as we bought him just after Valkenswaard and I think this is my fourth or fifth show with Vleut, I am not even sure – there haven’t been too many so far (laughs). I have only had him for about three months. The course today was rather delicate than massive… there were some big jumps and big, wide oxxers… I had several options for some lines, and for me it was great, I’m very happy with the result.”