Niels Bruynseels rode a jaw-dropping jump-off on his incredible mare Gancia de Muze to win the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix Rolex at Knokke Hippique in Belgium.
Niels finished just ahead of Ireland’s Darragh Kenny in second place, with William Whitaker in third.
Fourteen riders out of 46 starters made it through to the jump-off, and a fast pace was set early on by USA’s Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline (40.32sec).
However, her lead was soon snatched by Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Balou du Reventon (39.06sec). Next to go was William, who gave it a really good shot with Utamaro d’Ecaussinnes, but crossed the finish line slightly shy of Darragh’s time (39.84sec).
Niels Bruynseels is notoriously fast – especially on Gancia de Muze – and he didn’t disappoint the home crowd. The pair set off in top gear and showed what a magical partnership they are, breaking the beam in a winning time of 38.74sec.
After his win, Niels was quick to acknowledge the impact of the crowd’s support.
“They give me an extra motivation to win here,” he said. “It was my plan, everything I did the last week was directed towards trying to win with Gancia here today.
“It was not an easy win, because the other guys were very fast, but I have a super horse and she was the one that won today. I did the same lines as the other riders, but she is just faster.”
Looking back on his jump-off, William Whitaker said he could have been quicker to the second last fence.
“I tried to just balance him up a bit around the corner and I think he just got a little bit confused,” he said. “But I could not be more happy with my horse, he jumped two fantastic rounds.”