Juan Carlos Garcia and Emanuele Gaudiano took the top two places in the MAG-JLT Small Grand Prix in Rome on Saturday. It was a whirlwind affair, with riders going at terrific speed in the 18-horse jump-off. Sweden’s Douglas Lindelow set a strong target when first to go against the clock and clear in 39.33 seconds but, sixth into the arena, Garcia whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a dare-devil ride with Moka de Mescam (Melkior du Montois x Quouglof Rouge) who raced through the finish in 36.88 seconds which really put it up to the rest of them.
With riders attempting to shorten the distances between fences, some arrived at acute angles on take-off, and both Spain’s Pilar Cordon and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann ground to a halt when meeting the double, three fences from home, on a bad stride while young Belgian star, Nicola Philippaerts, found himself galloping past the final obstacle when hos horse drifted to the right.
With just three left to go, Gaudiano set off like a rocket with the 10-year-old Admara (Padinus x Murano) but he couldn’t quite catch his fellow-countryman when stopping the clock on 37.18 seconds. But Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid was the quickest of the day, cross the line in 36.21 seconds without ever seeming to apply any pressure at all to his 10-year-old gelding First Devision, but leaving a pole on the floor to line up in ninth place at the end of the competition.
Garcia said he could hardly remember the last time he enjoyed a win at CSIO Rome, and joked, “three years ago Emanuele (Gaudiano) was first in the Small Grand Prix and I was second, so I needed two years to learn how to beat him!” Talking about the 15-year-old Moka de Mescam he said, “I have had him a long time and I know him well, I know exactly how he can win - the only place I have to stay very quiet is in the combinations, otherwise I can really go fast. Today we won the class with our speed between fences one and three”, he explained.
Gaudiano has had Admara since the gelding was a two-year-old. “He was just eight years old when he won the Small Grand Prix here” said the 28-year-old rider who, as one of the top four finishers in this competition, has qualified for tomorrow’s Loro Piana Grand Prix along with Garcia.
Earlier in the day, it was Italy's Giulia Martinengo topped the opening speed class with the 12-year-old mare Fixdesign Pop Lady d’Elle (Quick Star x Jalisco B). “Speedy Poppy always wins a competition, even in these important shows!” said the 36-year-old Italian. “She’s my speed horse and she’s always ready to do her best. The course was perfect as usual, fun to ride and fun to watch for sure. This is no surprise since Uliano is the best course designer in the world.”
Source: Press release from CSIO Rome
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