‘The Successor’ wins award at Milan International Film Festival

Mon 14 November 2022 5.18 pm

SCHIERMONNIKOOG – The successful film and documentary maker Thom Verheul van Schiermonnikoog, who has already won several international prizes, closely followed Richard Westerink and his super horse Etonnant for two years and made the documentary ‘The Successor’.

Verheul followed Westerink (43) from Apeldoorn and traveled with him throughout Europe. The most successful trotter trainer from the Netherlands is causing a furore in France – the largest trotting country in the world – with his top horses that have already won millions in prize money.

The now 8-year-old Etonnant is the biggest talent in his stable. Millions are at stake and Westerink and Etonnant are experiencing all the highs and lows on and off the track. The international rollercoaster in which Westerink is located eventually led Verheul via Paris to Stockholm. The World Sprint Championship (Elitloppet) was waiting there in May. In Sweden, Etonnant faced the impossible task of following in the footsteps of his illustrious father (Timoko), with whom Westerink already won the world title twice in the past.

Verheul wins prestigious prize at international film festival

The documentary, which lasts over an hour, won the prestigious award at the 40th Milano International FICTS fest in the category Sport Movies & TV 2022, Great Champions. It was the final of 20 festivals around the world of the “World FICTS Challenge” World Championship of Television. During the ceremony, IOC President Thomas Bach spoke to the winners via video link: “Sport and culture are incredibly important for bringing people from all over the world together. The fantastic films and documentaries about sports that receive an award here today contribute to this in a fantastic way.”


ZEturf, the international gaming organization supported by its Swedish partner ATG, and TROTR Media from Joure, made the documentary in which Richard Westerink is followed financially possible. Westerink was also present in Milan: “I am very proud that I was able to participate in this documentary and thus bring the international harness sport to the attention of a larger audience.”

Olgers & Verheul films, who were able to make the film entirely at their own discretion, received the award together with Westerink. “It is a great honor to win this award. I was really allowed to follow Richard everywhere and I got a unique picture of the international harness sport. I didn’t know in advance what to expect, but the top sport that Westerink practices has fascinated me incredibly,” said Thom Verheul.

Managing director Paul Klomp of ZEturf thought the award for the ‘The Successor’ in Milan was more than deserved: “Richard Westerink is a real ambassador for the international harness sport. He has shown in a disarmed way what it takes to be able to perform at the absolute top of the world.” It is not yet clear where the film will be shown soon, the parties are still discussing this.

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