He has participated several times before, but today he outperformed everyone. Nicola Philippaerts had the BMW Masters on his wish list for a long time. Eight competitors tried to stop him from winning. Eight became seven. Seven became six, and after round five, there was no one left.
Although he has only had Derby de Riverland (Kannan x L’Arc De Triomphe | SF) for a short time, the partnership between Nicola and his gelding was amazingly beautiful. The audience cheered loudly, and Nicola clearly enjoyed it too: “Mechelen is the highlight of the year for Belgian riders. We aim for every victory, and the audience certainly helps us with that.”
Copyright: Dirk Caremans – Hippofoto
The BMW Masters is a very tactical competition where the jumps are raised one by one. A challenge! Nicola said, “Such a competition takes more time, and it’s a challenge for the horses to adapt to the heights. Today, we jumped five rounds, which is not easy. To spare your horse, you warm up as little as possible. After you’ve completed the course a few times, you know what to expect. But then you get to the jump-offs and have to carefully watch how your competitors tackle the course.”
Nicola saw today’s event as an ideal preparation for the Grote Prijs Sport Vlaanderen on Friday. “I haven’t had Derby for long, but today he clearly showed what kind of horse he is. He jumped with confidence and has tremendous potential.”
The winner of the BMW Masters gets to drive home with a brand-new BMW M135i. Nicola: “The car felt good. My current car is also a BMW, so of course, I am excited. It was simply tremendous to drive it through the Christmas Arena.”