Every day, Leo De Vos looks back on a few special moments at Flanders Horse Event. For yesterday, Leo talked with winner of the CSI3* Garage Vandenberghe Prize, Hendrik Denutte.

Just a ‘normal’ Thursday in the beautiful green setting of Beervelde… happy horses, riders with a plan and an expert audience following the competition. When, at about 4 o’clock, the most renown and ambitious riders enter the ring, all the eyes are on the arena. It’s the first of a series of three-star level classes during this eleventh edition of Flanders Horse Event at d’Heyboght stud.

The horses we see here can be taken into account for the Grand Prix this Sunday, the ‘moment supreme’ of this event. One of these riders will follow in the footsteps of French toprider Simon Delestre, winner in 2014, en Jonna Ekberg who surprised many last year. But we still have two days to go before that. Right now, we are looking at a course in two phases built by Louis Coninx and his assistants, with great riders starting.

Former Belgian champions such as Koen Vereecke and Lieven Devos, famous riders like Cameron Hanley, William Whitaker, Pieter Devos, Catherine Van Roosbroeck, former GP winners Patrik Spits, Gert Jan Bruggink and Niels Bruynseels are all there. And, not to forget, also a whole lot of ambitious other riders. That’s Beervelde.

A walk in the park? For some, maybe. Others hope for a nice place in the top ten.  Twenty-five combinations start in this first CSI3* test of the competition. Hendrik Denutte, 40, from Ieper, is number 21 in this test. Hendrik and his eight year old Doxanne (KWPN by Zacharov) rode to the lead and stayed firmly on top.

A victory that is no surprise. Denutte has been a loyal and motivated rider at FHE since the very first edition, and is rewarded for his efforts.  He is not quite sure anymore, but thinks this is his thirteenth victory in Beervelde. An almost unbeatable track record, if you ask us.   This is not the first nice result for Hendrik: just last year, he performed a double clear in the nations cup of Budapest with his good friend Quinten Bradt’s horse.  An emotional anecdote for Hendrik, as Quinten’s father and good friend Marc Bradt who died in a tragic accident just a few months ago. “I owe that man everything, he made me the rider I am today and opened the doors to a bright future. I miss him every day”. Just before the Masters, there will be a moment to celebrate Marc’s memory. Hendrik will say a few words and thank him then.

Denutte will ride the eleven year old Antigon Quality (Berlin x Heartbreaker) in Sunday’s GP. He is looking forward to it.

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