Great Britain’s Scott Brash took a phenomenal win with Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor) in Friday's feature class at the LGCT in Mexico City. “It was a very fast class I thought, and you had to go for it from the first fence. But we hit everything right and he jumped fantastic,” Brash underlined the high calibre of sporting competition, saying: “The best horses and riders are at these sort of events so it’s great to get a win in any class.”
Friday's CSI5* competition wrapped up with a fiercely competitive 1.50m Trofeo Massimo Dutti at the stunning new Mexico City venue. A field of 44 riders took to the expansive grass arena, with a total of 14 jumping clear representing 10 different nations and showcasing an exceptional international field. With each jump-off ride more exciting than the next, eleventh in proved best as Scott Brash brilliantly piloted the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding Hello Forever to a fantastic finish.
Uliano Vezzani's course asked plenty of questions in the initial round. First in the ring, Steve Guerdat and the Oldenburg gelding Concetto Son (Concetto x Drosseklklang II) answered each of them with aplomb. A dozen riders followed, discovering the various challenges on the track, including a monarch butterfly skinny jump with a light panel on top at fence six, three combinations and the final test at the last line coming home. With the in-gate in sight, the option of four or five strides to the last vertical-vertical combination proved difficult.
Fourteenth in the ring, Kevin Staut and the Belgian mare Elky can het Indihof HDC (Toulon x Thunder van de Zuuthoeve) joined Guerdat with a fault free round. Following their round, the list of competitors going clean began to rise, with a sizable group returning for the jump-off.
The galloping, fast paced jump-off course had the crowd on the edge of their seats as the riders returned to the spotlight. Guerdat and Concetto Son led the way beautifully clean in 37.57s. Second in Staut trumped that score, clear in 36.45s and raising the bar for those to follow.
The crowd in Mexico City was beyond supportive. With clucks and cheers of encouragement for every rider, they were especially exuberant for their fellow countrymen. When home rider Antonio Chedraui and his mare La Bamba (Lordanos x Chameur) galloped in fifth to ride, the stands were buzzing. Giving a gallant effort, Chedraui stopped the clock clean in 36.94s and the crowd went wild as he took over the second spot.
Chedraui summed up the amazing atmosphere and the prestige for the country of Mexico to host a top level international sports event. “The feeling, the Mexican support, you can just feel it inside. I think it is a great success for Mexico to be able to show what we are and what we have as a country.”
Several rounds later Scott Brash and Hello Forever were nothing short of amazing as they executed a quick and tight jump-off ride with no faults in 35.53, just under a second faster than Staut. Although some came close no one could catch that effort. Staut finished second, and Chedraui third.
Earlier in the day, forty-nine starters took their first gallop across the green grass in the Trofeo Heineken 1.45m, competing in a power and speed format against the clock. Once clear in the first phase, riders continued on to the second phase, with Germany's David Will taking the tidiest and fastest second phase track for the win aboard the lovely 10-year-old grey mare Monodie H (Carthago x Zeus).
Belgium's Jerome Guery and his 10-year-old Belgian gelding Grand Cru van de Rozenberg (Malito de Reves x Heartbreaker) set the pace early in the class, holding the lead at what seemed to be an unbeatable 28.75. Nineteen rides later, Laura Renwick effectively rode the young Irish mare WHS Washington (Obos Quality x Cavalier Royale) just a notch faster for the lead in 28.45. Nor for long as two rounds later Conor Swail stopped the clock in 28.24, presumably the win. With the class almost complete, forty-fifth in the ring, Will clocked in at 27.40, stealing the top spot from Irishman Swail by an impressive .75 seconds. Swail finished second and Renwick rounded out the top three.
Source: Press release from LGCT // Picture © LGCT/Stefano Grasso
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