The last class of the CSI5* LGCT show in Paris was a special one to watch. After a weekend with a lot of clear rounds, course designer Uliano Vezzani had stepped it up and delivered a challenging course for the 41 riders entered. 13 riders retired, additionally two were eliminated, only three riders ended at four faults and in the end only three riders - Edwina Tops-Alexander, Karim Elzoghby and Ben Maher - qualified for the jump-off.
The faults were spread around the 16 jumps, but it was especially the combination at 5A and B right out of a corner as well as the related distance from fence 9 - a triplebar - down to another combination at 10A and B causing the most problems.
The first clear round came with Edwina Tops-Alexander at start 26 and she was alone until there were only five riders left. In between the poles kept falling and riders retired one after the other.
Karim Elzoghby retired his mare Amelia (Cantos x Numero Uno) during yesterday’s Grand Prix, but today the Egyptian combination found a very nice rhythm and made sure to give the crowd a jump-off at the beautiful venue in front of the Eiffel Tower.
As next to go it looked like Penelope Leprevost and a well-jumping Vagabond de la Pomme would be able give the home crowd a French rider in the jump-off, but unfortunately a light pole fell and they finally ended fifth. Ben Maher on the other hand wanted to revenge yesterday’s Grand Prix class where he had the first fence down with Cella (Cento x ChinC Chin). Today the grey mare jumped perfectly securing a three-horse jump-off.
Edwina was first out in the jump-off with a very nice round aboard Heidi du Ruisseau Z (Heartbreaker x Darco). The Australian rider did not go super fast, but her turns could still be good enough to win. Karim was next to go and it was clear to everyone that he had nothing to loose. Amelia had to speed up - a task she handled perfectly - and they shaved 1,78 seconds off Edwina’s time to take over the lead.
Ben Maher is always dangerous and especially when he is last to go. Cella jumped another good round. Her turns were maybe not as sharp as they can be, but it still looked fast. As the British duo crossed the finish line the the almost unbelievable thing happened as the clock stopped at the exact same time as Karim and Amelia. An unexpected ending to a different and exciting class under the sun in Paris.
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