French Grand Prix rookie Antoine Nowakowski could not wipe the smile off his face as he surprised himself and all attending, winning the Grand Prix at the 2022 CDI Sint-Truiden in Belgium on Good Friday 15 April 2022. Nowakowski led a French 1-2 with Bernard Bosseaux slotting in second in the 3* Grand Prix which featured a field of 22 competitors in total.
The class was judged by Olivier Smeets (BEL), Alban Tissot (FRA), Lars Andersson (SWE), Jeannette Wolfs (NED), and Malgorzata Pawlowska (POL) and took place on Friday afternoon in glorious, sunny spring weather.
The CDI Sint-Truiden is the second outdoor competition in west Europe on the annual FEI calendar and its intimate atmosphere at Stable Gravenhof as well as the early date in the year prompt riders to bring out their new horses for experience and mileage. The field of participants, therefore, was highly interesting with new horses as well as big names combined.
Frenchman Antoine Nowakowski had scheduled his international Grand Prix debut on the 9-year old Hanoverian mare Quater Girl (by Quaterhall x Don Henrico) for Sint-Truiden after a year of campaigning her at medium tour level. The victory with 69.652% was a glorious pesach present. He was coached by Belgian GP rider Eddy Swennen in Sint-Truiden.
The Belgian based Nowakowski, who runs the yard Les Ecuries du Moulin in Perwez (BEL), is no newcomer to the scene for those with a watchful eye. The 30-year old and his chestnut mare Quater Girl were the reserve champions at the 2019 Belgian Young Horse Championships in the 6-year old division and at the 2020 French Championships for 7-year olds. He qualified to represent France at the 2020 World Young Horse Championships in Verden, but they were cancelled due to corona. On 8 February 2021 Antoine and his wife Yanna Denis became the parents of their first child, son Victor.
With a relatively young and experienced field of riders and horses competing in Sint-Truiden which led to a mixed bag of results and no combination achieving over 70%, French routinier Bernard Bosseaux settled in second place with 69.087% aboard the Zangersheide registered 10-year old mare Rilkadora Z (by Rilke x Weltmeyer).
The 53-year old Bosseaux has ridden three horses at international Grand Prix level the past decade - Talent (by Lennard x Voltaire), Acropolis (by San Remo x Ferro) and Rilkadora - and trained around 13 up to the highest level in his career. Bosseaux recently said goodbye to one of his first international Grand Prix horses, Furie (by Wagenaar), who came to live 34 years and with whom he was 1995 French Dressage Champion.
Based in Livarot, France, Bosseaux discovered Rilkadora as a 5-year old in the stable of former international youth rider Victoria Saint Cast. The chestnut mare was quite the sensitive redhead as a youngster, often spooking and spinning round, but showing plenty of talent. Bosseaux only lightly competed her as a youngster and began taking her out as a 7-year old, mainly focusing on national shows. Rilkadora made her international Grand Prix debut in June 2021 in Le Mans.
German based Portuguese rider Joao Pedro Moreira and the 9-year old Oldenburg Zonik Hit (by Zonik x Diamond Hit) placed third with 69.022%.
The 36-year old Moreira began campaigning the compact black gelding at international Grand Prix level when the horse was 8 in June 2021 in Herzlake, followed by starts in Grote-Brogel, Sint-Truiden, and Crozet. They were named first reserves for the Portuguese team for the 2021 European Championships in Hagen.
Moreira is no newcomer to the sport, having ridden his first internationals at Grand Prix level in 2014 aboard Liver Luar K (by Lacapo x Calgary) and at small tour level with Reglisse (by Rascalino x Woodstock). Since then a string of horses followed, such as Lusitano Neve VIP (by Ortega x Cravo), Deereaux (by Depardieu x Donnerhall), Despinio (by De Niro x Pik Bube), Quantum Surprise (by Quaterback x Royal Dance), and his WCYH finalist Furst Kennedy OLD (by Fursten-Look x Don Kennedy).
Joao and his wife Marta Duarte came to Germany in 2013 to establish themselves as professional riders. They have moved yards several times, from Rosencarree to Helgstrand in Denmark, and back to Reitanlage Giesen in Germany. They are now based in Telgte. As a hobby he plays soccer in the local football club. Moreira also collaborates with the Brazilian stud farm Haras de Drosa.