Virginie Thonon wins the CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort at Spring MET II 2024

Virginie Thonon Herve Bonnaud 1clicphoto

Belgium’s Virginie Thonon and Pecorino de La Liniere (Bamako de Muze x Filou de Muze) concluded the second week of Spring MET II 2024 at Centro Ecuestre Oliva Nova in Spain with a win in Sunday’s CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix presented by Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort.

A total of 59 horse-and-rider-combinations were lined up to start in Sunday’s CSI3* Grand Prix, and out of those only six pairs managed to clear the first-round track set by the German course designer Peter Schumacher.

In the jump-off, Thonon and Pecorino de La Liniere crossed the finish line in 35.22 seconds, taking the win ahead of Canada’s Lea Rucker and Macarena 42 (Monte Bellini x Saccor) in second in 39.41. “The course designer had built a very delicate and very technical course,” Thonon said afterwards. “It was not the biggest course, but very technical.”

“We were six going into the jump-off, and my boyfriend Manu told me ‘Virginie, you have to go, you have to win’,” Thonon explained. “I tried, and Pecorino and I were lucky! Before entering the ring, I thought that in the worst case, we will be 6th – so I will have to try.

“Fabien Schreiber bought him when he was six,” Thonon said about her winning mount, the 9-year-old Pecorino de La Liniere. “Back then I was not riding for Fabien, but I’ve always been helping him when he had no riders. I started to ride Pecorino two and a half years ago, and we have agreed that I only compete Pecorino and they ride him at home. He is still young; he is only nine, but he has already jumped two three-star Grand Prix classes. He is super powerful, very careful – he is amazing.”

Speaking about the venue in Centro Oliva Nova, Thonon said: “The show is amazing, and the facilities are great. Everything is easy here; it’s easy for the owners to come and visit the showgrounds, and this is one of the reasons why we are coming back every year.”

Norway’s Oda Charlotte Lyngvær and Carabella vd Neyen Z (Carrera VDL x Lux Z) placed third in 39.50 – making it an all-female podium. Great Britain’s Harry Charles and Romeo 88 (Contact vd Heffinck x Orlando) had to settle for the fourth place with a fence down in 36.29, followed by France’s Nicolas Delmotte and Jordan Molga M (Etoulon x Hgt Dulf van den Biscchop) in fifth with four faults in 37.36.

Spring MET II 2024 runs until February 25 and is followed by Spring MET III in March and Spring MET IV in April.

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