Maikel van der Vleuten (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)
It was another night of crowd-pleasing entertainment in the Brabanthallen, as Maikel van der Vleuten took the victory in the Audi Prize, the second Rolex Grand Prix qualifier. The Dutch maestro produced an uncatchable clear, in the time of 37.25 seconds, knocking over three seconds off the time set by last year’s Rolex Grand Prix winner, Niels Bruynseels (BEL).
That was a very fast round; how did the ride feel to you?
It was a tough competition, with strong riders, so I knew I had to go for it. Dana Blue is a very strong horse; she won yesterday and is naturally very, very quick and that’s the type of horse you need these days.
The Dutch team are taking all the top spots this week; what’s it like to win in front of the home crowd?
Performing in front of my home crowd certainly gives me even more motivation. So far, it’s going very well here. Tomorrow is the Rolex Grand Prix and I hope we can continue our winning streak, but it will be a very tough competition.
How will you be preparing for the Rolex Grand Prix?
We will stick to our normal routine. I will make sure my horse (Verdi TN) is in good shape; yesterday he jumped very well in the big class; he was double clear. Today I gave him a bit of an easy day so I am hoping he will be very fresh tomorrow!
Who do you think your biggest competition is?
There are so many riders, it’s hard to say. That’s the thing – it’s always exciting in our sport because out of the 40 riders you have at least 25 combinations who can give it a serious go!
Now that The Dutch Masters is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, has the event been enhanced?
Yes, I think it is a really good thing that this show is now one of the Majors. It is so important, being such a horse country, that we have a world-class event like this in Holland. It’s great for the Dutch people.
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