It “could not have been a better end” to the career of legendary showjumping stallion Casall ASK, who retired with a grand prix win at the Hamburg leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT).
Tens of thousands of people watched Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson ride the 18-year-old to a convincing win in his home city Hamburg on Saturday (27 May).
In what was described as “pure sporting magic” by the GCT, Casall ASK took victory from last draw in a five-strong jump-off.
“I would carry on if I could, but it can’t end any better — Casall really deserves it,” said Rolf, who was celebrating his 10th GCT grand prix win.
A GCT spokesman said fans waved white handkerchiefs bearing Casall’s picture as the stallion entered the arena to Van Halen’s Jump.
“The huge crowd were on their feet without exception in respect for the extraordinary equine athlete and there were plenty of tears later during the poignant farewell tribute,” he added. “It was a celebration of a unique horse that had matured into a rare vintage and became beloved throughout the equestrian world.”
Rolf said the stallion felt the same as he had when he was 11.
“It can’t be a better end, that’s for sure,” he added. “To make the retirement of a horse like Casall ASK and to pick the show at our home ground in front of his home crowd, is a dream come true and the horse more than deserves this and many will remember him for many years, including me!”
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Harrie Smolders, who was beaten into second place on Don VHP by 2.5 seconds, said “even Steven Spielberg will be very jealous”, while GCT president Jan Tops described Casall and Rolf as “amazing”.
“This is great horsemanship,” Mr Tops added. “One of the things I really respect is the way the horse has been looked after. Ten years like that at this level is very rare and won’t happen again.”