Nicola Philippaerts Triumphs in the International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix
The Omaha Jumping Grand Prix opened to a roaring crowd on Saturday, April 1, at the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2017. Although the Grand Prix would not help determine who would be a finalist within the FEI World Cup, the competition featured some of the best equestrian athletes throughout the world, and it did not disappoint.
The two-round competition at the CenturyLink Center featured 14 international horse-and-rider combinations with the top 10 returning in reverse order of merit. The battle for victory was narrowed down to four world-class riders who were clear in the first round. In the end it was the team Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Harley vd Bisschop who jumped to victory. Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca was second on Limestone Grey and four-time Olympic gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum was third with Chiara.
Karl Cook and Tembla were the first of the quartet to return over the Alan Wade-designed course and knocked down a rail for four faults in a time of 38.95 seconds. Beerbaum also had a rail down, but had better luck with the clock, stopping the Longines timers at 38.17.
“It has been a pleasure. The crowd was very good – they’re enthusiastic and the facilities are great. It has been a very nice experience to come here. Even though with my results, I have to be a bit more critical because my goal was to finish in the Final at least in the top 10 and I was quite far away from that.”
Philippaerts negotiated the first double clear in a blazing fast time of 38.17 seconds, which put him into the lead with one rider left to compete. “There were a few really quick ones in the second round and I had to try to go as quick as possible because I saw Ludger had one down, but Lorenzo still had to jump and I knew he would go really fast,” said Philippaerts. “I thought it was a very nice class to win. Even though I didn’t get through the Final, I’m very happy with this win today.”
Although final rider Lorenzo de Luca left the rails intact, his path on Limestone Gray was a little slower, stopping the Longines timers at 39.77 for second place. “I was a little bit wide to the second fence, I could have been a little bit tighter to make up time,” said de Luca. “I am really pleased with the way my horse jumped tonight. It was a nice way to finish the indoor season. It was amazing to compete here.”
International Omaha Jumping Grand Prix Results
Nicola Philippaerts/BEL/H&M Harley vd Bisschop/0/38.65