Gert-Jan Bruggink, a 23-year-old Dutchman, had the audacity to defeat the German superstar, Ludger Beerbaum, on his home ground when he rode Joel to win yesterday's Preis von Europa on the second day of the Aachen Super League Show here in Germany. Wim Schroder, another Dutchman, filled third place on the consistent Eurocommerce Montreal.
Few amateur riders succeed at this level, but Bruggink is a genuine claimant to that status having combined show jumping with university studies in construction engineering which he completed a month ago. He first acquired his mount 13 years ago after finding Joel fast asleep in a field as a tiny foal. Yesterday's victory was far from being a flash in the pan, since Bruggink won the recent Rotterdam Grand Prix and is now hoping for an Olympic place when the Dutch show jumping team is announced next Tuesday. "Joel gets better every time," Bruggink said yesterday.