Denis Lynch took the win in Friday night’s Prix E. Leclerc in Cannes after a superb round and jump-off with the 13-year-old stallion All Star 5 (Argentinus x Alme). Maikel van der Vleuten claimed second place with VDL Groep Quatro (Quaprice Boimargot Quincy x Caletto I) and Germany's Daniel Deusser continued his run of good form with Hidalgo VG (Quadrillo x Andiamo) to finish in third.
The second day of competition for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes culminated in this evening’s 1.50 class as 47 world class riders took centre stage in the floodlit arena. The first round was a challenging course set by Uliano Vezzani, which set the precedent for the rest of the show, and the big delicate track giving opportunities for fences down all over the course. Sustained accuracy and control all the way around were the themes of the evening, with a committed half stride to the last an option for the brave.
Just four went through to the jump-off, and with over 60,000 euros on offer the scene was set for an intense final round of fast paced competition.
First to go was home rider Julien Epaillard with Cristallo A LM (Casall x Corofino), with the local crowd’s hopes resting on this brilliant combination. They were quick throughout, but a fence down put them on four faults. Next up was Maikel van der Vleuten and VDL Groep Quatro, who crossed the line in 35.30s. Daniel Deusser and Hidalgo VG also jumped clear, but were a touch slower than the Dutchman riding a little wide to the final fence and crossing the line in 36.07s. Last to go was Ireland’s Denis Lynch with All Star 5, who set off with intent, galloping to the first two fences to make up time and kept up the tempo throughout the course, crossing the line in 34.93s and coasting home to take the win.
Earlier in the day, Ben Maher wiped the floor with the opposition after a stunning win in the CSI5* Prix Constance Prince Maurice Trophée MTPA comtant pour Generali FFE French Tour. As the picture perfect sunshine started to give way to twilight, Ben and his fiery chestnut gelding Aristo Z (Andiamo x Flamenco Desemilly) cleared the field by a full three seconds in the 1.45m class which fielded 72 starters with many of the top riders competing with two horses.
Following the galloping grass arenas of Mexico City, Hamburg, Madrid and Chantilly, the leading horse and rider combinations were faced with a new challenge with the intimate LGCT Cannes sand arena, measuring 75m x 55m in total, best suited to horses quick on their feet and agile in their turns. Ben and Aristo Z have performed well here in the past, with the pair well suited to fast sand arenas and winning classes at every edition of the LGCT Cannes show they've competed in over the years.
Uliano Vezzani’s 1.45m course made full use of the arena, with opportunities for tight cut-backs, and enough space to pick up a galloping pace between fences. The liverpool caused a few problems for many of the world class combinations, as did the final fence - a light vertical which caught many off guard as they galloped for home.
Pius Schwizer and Balou Rubin R (Balou du Rouet x Couleur-Rubin) took second place, with the bigger striding 9-year-old gelding unable to match the pace of Ben’s Aristo. Pius' compatriot Jane Richard Philips took a strong third with Dieudonne de Guldenboom (Nabab de Reve x Gibramino).
Source: Press release from LGCT // Picture © Stefano Grasso/LGCT
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