Germany’s Christian Ahlmann has had a fantastic year so far, and today he took yet another Grand Prix win when he went to the top at CSI5* Jumping International de Dinard.
Aboard the 11-year-old stallion Cornado II (Cornet Obolensky x Acobat), Ahlmann beat Belgium’s Jerome Guery by the narrowest of margin’s – 0.01 seconds separated the two riders.
It was a very good field of riders that had lined up for the 1.60 Grand Prix, that took place under perfect conditions in the huge grass ring in Dinard with every single spot filled up by spectators – and as usual at a French five-star event the atmosphere was incredible.
As first to go, Belgium’s Pieter Devos opened up with a clear round on Dream of India Greenfield (Gem Of India x Night And Day) – and quickly the jump-off filled up with the world’s best combinations. In the end no less than fifteen riders moved on to the jump-off after going clear over the thirteen fence track that included a triple combination, and open water as well as a double of uprights towards the very end. With world no. one Simon Delestre, world no. two Christian Ahlmann and world no. three Kent Farrington all among those in it – the jump-off was bound to end up as a fast affair.
The jump-off opened up with an oxer, before a right turn back to a vertical was up on seven or eight strides to an oxer. Then the riders had to make a quick turn back to two former elements of the triple combination, before they raced back to a vertical and then turned right to an oxer and then had a long stretch of gallop to the final oxer.
Devos again opened up, and went clear again – putting the pressure on those to come with a time of 45.41 seconds. He was quickly over-taken by his compatriot Jerome Guery though, who rode all reins and stirrups could take – pushing Papillon Z (Perhaps x Cassini) without brakes around the track to take over the lead with an incredible time of 42.73 seconds.
Ahlmann was up next, and as usual the German precisionist disguised his speed with his unbelievable controlled riding and perfect turns on Cornado II. Crossing the finish line, Christian took over the lead by the narrowest of margins as he had shaved off 0.01 seconds on the leading time.
It would turn out that nobody could catch Christian. Home rider Jerome Hurel had the front pole on the b-element of the combination, as did Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet. Philipp Rozier – also representing France – had two down, as did Belgian rider Maxime Harmegnies – while Germany’s Katharina Offel also had to see the front pole on the second part of the combination fall to the ground. French rider Timothee Anciaume went for a safe clear, while Darragh Kenny gave it a good try on Go Easy de Muze (Vigo d’Arsouilles x For Pleasure) to eventually finish third for Ireland with a time of 43.25 seconds leaving Devos in fourth.
None of the five remaining riders could touch Alhmann either. Laura Renwick, who has had a fantastic show in Dinard, went for a steady clear to end seventh while home hero Delestre had to see one down as went for USA’s Kent Farrington. Sweden’s Douglas Lindelöw impressed with another clear on Zacramento (Cardento x Cortus) to finish fifth while Marco Kutscher also had one down to leave his compatriot Ahlmann with yet another big Grand Prix win this season.
After a successful first visit to Dinard, Ahlmann praised the venue and the atmosphere. "First of all, I have to admit that I am really impressed by the quality of the site and by the arena. To be clear here, you need a very good and experienced horse, but the course was fun to ride. The fact that the public is so big makes a real difference although it puts more pressure on our shoulders."
Jerome Guery was also happy although he lost the top prize by the smallest margin. "I miss out on this victory by a fraction of a second, but I am very pleased with this placing. I am very happy to be part of this competition with so many talented riders."
Third placed Darragh Kenny was thrilled with his relatively new ride, Go Easy de Muze. "This show is fantastic, it is my second time here. My horse jumped incredible. I've only had him for eight weeks and he has already been third twice in the CSI5*."
Source World of Showjumping and Press release Jumping International Dinard // Text and picture © World of Showjumping
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