Belgium’s Vilm Vermeir was the man of the moment when scorching home to win the Equiline Joker class with Gentiane de la Pomme on the final morning of Jumping Verona 2019 today. All week it has been the early runners who have dictated the results. Today however, the 40-year-old rider from Lummen was 37th to go in the field of 57 starters, and when he put 46.09 seconds on the board he couldn’t be caught. His 13-year-old chestnut mare Gentiane is something of a speed specialist - “she’s a really, really fast horse….she can turn unbelievably short and that’s what makes the difference! She has won a class at all of her last four shows”, Vermeir said after holding off a strong challenge from Italy’s Alberto Zorzi who had to settle for second place with Vauban du Trio while World No. 1, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat, finished third with Evita.
He didn’t not enjoy the easiest of weeks in the lead-up to today’s success however. He had a bit of a drama with his top horse, the 11-year-old Belgian-bred gelding Iq van het Steentje, in Friday’s main event. “He got his foot caught in the martingale and he fell, so we were having an unlucky show but now we are back in business!” he said.
He wonders however if that elimination may affect his chances in this afternoon’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier in which the pair will go 15th of the 38 starters.
“It has been a bit strange for Iq, he jumped the warm-up and then he had to jump again yesterday because otherwise he wouldn’t be allowed to jump the World Cup today. He is in a good mood but just maybe he has jumped too much but he’s a very good horse and he’s a machine, so we will see!”, he pointed out.
Ph. Jumping Verona / S. Grasso