Lorenzo De Luca (picture: Ashley Neuhof).
Behind the Scenes with Lorenzo De Luca, Number One Italian Rider
Who do you think is your biggest competitor on Sunday?
“There were some great performances yesterday. I think Philipp Weishaupt is looking very good, of course Daniel Deusser was on top form last night and Luciana Diniz has been riding really well so far this year.”
“It is going to be a very tough competition as there are a lot of good riders in the line-up!”
Do you have any superstitions before you compete?
“Not really. I just stay relaxed and keep my horse nice and quiet; he is very sensitive, so I need to be calm for him. I just focus on my horse, myself and that’s it!”
What advice can you give to young riders who aspire to be in your position one day?
“My best advice would be ‘to not go too quick!’ That can cause all sorts of problems. My second piece of advice is to keep learning and growing. The Show Jumping world is such a magical place, every horse and every rider is different, so you can always expand your knowledge of the sport.”
Thoughts on the course Sunday?
“It is going to be hard! Last year I remember the course was very difficult, and now the prize money has been increased and it is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping; the competition is going to be tougher than ever. I think the crowds are in for a treat!”
Behind the Stable Door with Sean Lynch, Daniel Deusser’s Groom
Who is Daniel riding in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday?
“He is riding Cornet D’Amour on Sunday, a really special horse with a very big character. He is very sensitive to noise and when there’s lots of it; he’s not the easiest to control but he is one of the nicest horses to be around. All my horses are nice and normal though, so I never have a problem with them.”
What is the horse’s routine immediately after a big competition like the Rolex Grand Prix at a Major?
“We wash them down and give them some hay, so they can relax and cool down. We put the ice boots on and then follow up with the spa boots and as soon as they are dry we put a massage blanket on for 45 minutes! The massage blanket is amazing and has different programmes, so we usually put it on the programme designed for back treatment relief if they have jumped a big class. Cornet gets more spa treatments than any of us do!”
Are you and Daniel thinking about the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?
“I am hoping that Sunday goes well and then we can really start to focus on the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”
“It has made show jumping more interesting for the riders and the public, and it is certainly the thing that riders talk about wanting to win the most.”
“So, if we have success in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday we will be planning our schedule around the next Majors for sure.”
How do you cope with the pressure of a Rolex Grand Prix? Does Daniel feel the pressure?
“I do feel the pressure a bit! I have to do my job well enough to make sure Daniel has the best chance on Sunday. We have to work together to make sure the horse is fit and is in peak condition. With Cornet D’Amour I always get quite nervous, especially when he has won a class already like he did in the Grand Prix qualifier last night. Sometimes I just stay quiet for the whole day and don’t talk to anyone!”
“Daniel is Mr. Cool! He doesn’t let the pressure get to him; he knows what he needs to do and does the job. For me he is one of the best riders around, very relaxed and very calm.”
The Audi Prize, and second qualifier of the Rolex Grand Prix, provided an evening of world-class entertainment in the Brabanthal arena, with only five of the 41 starters jumping clear in the first round. Maikel Van Der Vleuten was third to go in the jump-off, navigating the course in a nimble fashion to produce the winning round of the night.
1st Place: MAIKEL VAN DER VLEUTEN (NED)
- World number 11
- Horse: Arera C, a 13-year-old bay mare
2nd Place: JOHNNY PALS (NED)
- One of the top Dutch riders
- Horse: Chat Botte Du Ruisseau Z, a 10-year-old chestnut stallion
3rd Place: PEDER FREDRICSON (SWE)
- European Champion
- Horse: Hansson WL, A 10-year-old bay stallion