San Patrignano CSI-A (ITA)

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San Patrignano CSI-A: Emile Hendrix, the ”senator” of international equestrian sports, wins the Infostrada Grand Prix – “Vincenzo Muccioli” Challenge

The 5th edition of the San Patrignano International Show jumping, “Vincenzo Muccioli” Challenge, came to a triumphant end, as in a beautiful story, with the victory of the Dutch top rider Emile Hendrix, on the extraordinary chestnut jumper Audi’s Finesse. Hendrix, performing a double clear with the fastest course in the second round, (43.76), gained the Infostrada Grand Prix, the most important class of the event, dedicated to the memory of the San Patrignano founder. The Dutch rider gave the whole community a precious success, considering that this year he was the new technical advisor of the show. It was an exciting and hard fought competition until the end; 39 combinations were on the starting line and only 10 of them were admitted to the second round: eight riders went clear on the first course while the Argentine rider Wertheim and Urs Fah from Switzerland got a slight time fault. In the second round Hendrix, entering the arena fourth from last, went clear again, faster than Willi Melliger by only one hundredth of a second. Melliger, first until that moment, ended on the second place of the podium riding Scutt. The European vice champion Ludo Philippaerts, on Verelst Otterongo, could have the possibility to snatch the victory from Hendrix’ hands: actually, he went very fast in his second round (41.60), but unfortunately incurred in a knock down in the very last fence, ending fourth. The Argentine rider Martin Dopazo, de luxe outsider of the show, took the third place on Calwaro, getting a knock down with the fastest time (41.38).

Five thousand people crowded the San Patrignano hill and its equestrian facilities in the closing day of the event, which was appreciated and achieved widespread consent by the audience, professionals and riders. John Roche, FEI Jumping Events Director, declared that he was very impressed by the top level of the show: What I saw is well beyond my expectations. Facilities are very good and the atmosphere is really special. The British rider Tim Stockdale emphasized the kindness and professionalism of the community young guests: I was really struck by the way we were welcome, very warmly

and friendly; I and my horses never received such a special hospitality in any other show. The Olympic champion Jeroen Dubbeldam added: I think that taking part to this show can be very important and interesting for any rider. I would like to know San Patrignano more deeply and I will do my best in order that a larger number of people can appreciate this community and its achievements. Impressions and comments largely shared by all the participants, and also confirmed by Emile Hendrix words at the closing ceremony: This success is the fulfilment of a dream, on behalf of all riders, grooms and technicians I have to thank all the young guests of the community for what they did. In San Patrignano, during this last year, I have learned an important thing: team work makes dream work.

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Updated: October 2005.